Life & Death |Fifth Colvmn Records, 1992|
1. Ventilator, 2. Blind Judgement, 3. Black Whole, 4. Contradiction, 5. Shell Shock, 6. Hustle, 7. Image Pig, 8. Temptation, 9. Rain, 10. Lose, 11. Loaded, 12. Nod
Life & Death (Length: 36:30 minutes) is the second Fifth Colvmn album published in 1992. I have been completing the Fifth Colvmn discography over the years, and this was one of the last missing albums that I was looking for. Even if it's not so easy to find the album (even used); with a little bit of patience you can do good business locating and purchasing the album on the internet... for example I bought my copy from Amazon Marketplace for only 0.30$... and you can't understand how I'm happy with this purchase.
"Life & Death" is in the Top Ten of my recent purchases. It's a wonderful album, furious, aggressive, personal, shouted, angry, full of powerful guitar riffs, and in short the adjectives are a waste in terms of describing this collection of work...
The electronica is almost non-existent, so don't expect samples, loops and vocal distortion or anything. Be prepared for a violent assault of great rock and heavy metal, seasoned with a bit of the coldwave atmosphere from those years. It's certainly the heaviest Fifth Colvmn album along with "Hands Of Ash" by Trust & Obey which has a more mechanical sound (notwithstanding the album "To Live And Shave in LA"... that is pure cacophony!).
Thud in composed by: Robert Dotolo (Vocals, guitars), Gregg Hudson (Drums, Backing Vocals), Rasley Chris (Bass), and Adam Rutland (Guitars, Backing Vocals). In addition, the creative team is composed by Zelman Fishman (Producer and Fifth Colvmn founder), Jared "Mr. Coldwave" Hendrickson of Chemlab (which in addition to having co-produced the album and co-written the song" Ventilator", and doing backing vocals, plays noise-guitar in a couple of songs), and Barrett Jones (http://laundryroomstudio.com/disc.htm
"Ventilator" is the first track of the album and probably is the most beautiful... everything is perfect in this song and it becomes impossible not to sing "Uzi in the Dark..." every time you listen it.
"Blind Judgment" kicks up sonorities*, that call to mind the thrash metal sound of icons like Anthrax and their debut album "Fistful of Metal", led by the powerful and remarkable voice of Dotolo. "Black Whole" and "Contradiction" continue to hit like a blacksmith! If you love early 90's rock, it's like having a field day with these sounds.
"Shell Shock" slows down the beat for a moment, with a transition piece of music, to start up again with "Hustle" characterized by raw lyrics; lyrics that are so intimate, in-your-face, and repetitive that once they have entered into your mind... they don't leave you anymore.
"Image Pig" is another noteworthy song, sounds very similar to the sonorities* that "Tool and Peach" (Justin Chencellor's band) were developing in those years. "Temptation" utilizes powerful choruses that compete with the majesty of Adam Grossman (Skrew), then "Rain" brings you to albums as Sexorcisto: Devil Music Vol.1 by White Zombie (also published in 1992). "Lose" lives on punk-rock energy, while "Loaded" is animated by the usual hard-rock energy of Dotolo's voice. The last song, "Nod", is an instrumental.
The first thing I thought after having listened this album was: "Now I'm buying anything these geniuses have composed/collaborated/published... "Unfortunately, I didn't find too much information about Thud on the web; and after careful research I realized the reason why: Adam Rutland died in 1993 from a heroin overdose, and recently Dotolo also passed away, as you can read from this article that sums up Dotolo's personal life: http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com
Facing these tragedies, the Fabryka collective offers to the loved ones of the departed, our deepest condolences.
These events fill me with sadness. I hope to pay tribute to their memory with this review, so that the amazing album "Life & Death" will not be forgotten.
Dedicated to the memory of: Robert L. "Bob" Dotolo Jr. (11-25-1963 / 08-14-2007) and Adam Rutland (died 1993).
(Marco Gariboldi. Proofreading: Scott M. Owens)