HomeMusicLife After This Releases “The Countdown” EP

Life After This Releases “The Countdown” EP

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Life After This is an American hard rock band that formed in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2013. Their music blends aggressive rock n’ roll energy with melodic harmonies. The group consists of members Matt Fritsch (vocals), Matt Johnson (drums),Thomas Cheek (guitar/vocals), and Ray Vitatoe (bass/vocals). The quartet has opened for many national acts, and their biggest thrill is performing music live on stage and connecting with fans off stage. The band influences include Slipknot, Metallica, Chevelle, Anthrax, Jane’s Addiction and Mudvayne. Their six-song EP The Countdown, was recorded, mixed and mastered at Sonic Lounge Studiosin Grove City, Ohio.

For those who love music videos, check out the band on YouTube. Their first track “86 the Meds” features a mostly black and white visual of the band, both playing live and in their own practice space. This first tune showcases a spectrum of both old classic metal and newer takes on the genre. Fritsch’s vocal ranges from melodic to rage singing – and he pulls it off quite well, I’d say. The pair of guitarists, Cheek and Vitatoe, play solid and full and Matt Johnson’s drumming, especially on the double bass is fluid and flawless. I also thought the way in which Cheek’s guitar sounded and/or the way he played it, reminded me of Kim Thayil from Soundgarden. The band’s next tune, “Exigent” (feat. Elyssa Girtman), features a melodic bass line and a very catchy guitar riff. Elyssa’s voice is haunting and offers a dynamic contrast with the band’s mix of classic metal, rap-styled singing, and faster, edgier moments. There’s a video with this one too, and I think whoever did it deserves to be nominated for something! 

Next up is “Kintsugi” (which is a Japanese term for the artistic practice of repairing broken pottery by means of gold, silver or platinum), begins with Fritsch, sitting at a bar drinking shots and then promptly walking out onto an open country road, only to discover his bandmates playing their instruments on the side of the road, each one pointing in a direction where they should go. “Give me a moment, I’m working through this life” sings Matt, in this song about being “broken” but not defeated. A positive song I think, that features the band playing in softer tones, with a style that felt to me like early grunge rock, when hair band metal was dying off (think Jane’s Addiction, Alice In Chains, Mudhoney). The next track “Message from a Ghost” does not have a video to go along with it, but no fear, this song was a real treat to listen to. It’s both melodic, hard edged and highly energetic. I could tell in the song somewhere, that there was some Jane’s Addiction influence, but there’s also rage singing, too. Lots of dynamics going on here, with the band playing spot on and tight. 

The EPs title track “The Countdown” was probably one of my most favorites. The guitar hooks, the funky bass lines and all the tight rhythms by Johnson are fantastic! Lyrically, I think this song is about America and how downhill everything has gotten. “We’re counting down to the extinction of freedom!” And “What happened to America?!” (I think I made out at least those lines of verse). The band’s last track, “Mark My Words” leaves the listener with a more subdued style and sound – at least starting off. There are moments of classic metal distortion though, along with a newer metal sound. If I may add, this song reminded me so much of classic Metallica. I mean, the back and forth between slow tempos (clean sounding guitars) and fast action metal (distortion) between the band members had me thinking of songs like “The Call of Ktulu.” But I suspect the parts where the rage screaming happens, is more reminiscent of Slipknot.  I’m not sure because I haven’t listened to much of that band’s music. Also, the part where the laughing happens (which of course I found humorous) reminded me of Henry Rollins’ “Liar.” From start to finish, The Countdown by Life After This, has got plenty of ‘Life’ in it – there’s a lot to offer in these six songs – and I look forward to hearing what’s next. 

Heather Savage

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