Album review: Love And Death – Perfectly Preserved
This second album from Love And Death, the other outfit of Korn guitarist Brian ‘Head’ Welch, is indeed perfectly preserved. Eight years on from 2013’s Between Here & Lost debut, little has changed in their sound, for good and for ill. Even if you’re unfamiliar with its predecessor, Perfectly Preserved is what you’d expect to hear from a band featuring Head and Breaking Benjamin bassist Jasen Rauch: unwieldy riffs and confessional lyrical subject matter, captured with muscular production. This, then, is a case of ‘same song, second verse’. Re-ignition, rather than reinvention.
That’s no bad thing, however, particularly if you’re a fan of Korn. Head is one of the most influential musicians in modern metal, so hearing his unmistakable playing in a variety of different contexts continues to be interesting in and of itself. It helps, of course, that the likes of Down and The Hunter are strong songs (the latter featuring Jasen’s BB bandmate Keith Wallen). And while none of them are as much of a departure from Head’s ‘day job’ as his interviews would have you believe, their focus on melody ably represents the hope marbling the darkness.
It’s when things cleave closer to heaviness, in fact, that Perfectly Preserved is most enjoyable, in part thanks to Head’s vocal contributions. Who doesn’t still get a kick from hearing his screams on Korn classic Ball Tongue? If you’ve been aching for more of the same, then look no further than Affliction, which finds the man on colossal throat-ripping form.
If there’s a problem with Perfectly Preserved, aside from doing little that’ll attract listeners not already on board with the band’s constituent members, it’s that it’s a retread, right down to the choice of left-field cover. In truth, this version of Justin Bieber’s Let Me Love You, featuring former Flyleaf vocalist Lacey Sturm, is as unrecognisable as the version of Devo’s Whip It was on the first album, leaving you wondering what the point is, aside from garnering some headlines.
It’s a novelty blip, though, on an album that otherwise delivers exactly what it sets out to: a musical outlet away from the endeavours of more famous bands. Is it interesting supplementary material for devotees of those bands? Absolutely. Does it do enough to justify its own existence? Just about.
For Fans Of: Korn, Breaking Benjamin, Sevendust
Perfectly Preserved is out now via Earache.