Life In Your Way

Kingdoms

Written by: PP on 19/12/2011 01:47:36

The career of atmospheric Christian hardcore band Life In Your Way has been a story of struggle. Formed in 1999, they got caught up on a surging metalcore trend early on during their demo and split album with Solace, but already on their debut album "All These Things Tie Me Down" in 2002, the band were among the first to pioneer the melodic brand of hardcore that has only recently started to gain foothold around the world spearheaded by bands like The Ghost Inside and Hundredth. But the band were way ahead of their time and were largely ignored in a scene that was obsessed with the likes of As I Lay Dying, so it was first with 2007's Waking Giants" that the band started making a proper impact. It was arguably their career defining album, the one record where they honed and fine-tuned their sound to finally catch the attention of the scene at large. Too little, too late; discouraged by the uphill struggle the band disbanded shortly after, leaving behind a broken legacy that was largely forgotten in the years that followed.

Fast-forward to 2011, and the band decided to reunite and record at least one more album, an ambitious project that they "needed" to do according to their own words. A concept album called "Kingdoms" was born, a record divided into three EPs: "Kingdom of Man", "Kingdom of God", and "Kingdom Of Darkness". Given the Christian imagery I'm sure you can figure out what the lyrical themes are dealing with.

Previous fans of Life In Your Way will be surprised to meet a caustic, brooding wall of aggressive hardcore on the "Kingdom of Darkness" songs, which showcase vocalist Joshua Kellam in a far more intimidating, almost unmelodic stance compared to the broad atmospheres his voice created on "Waking Giants". But this has been an intentional choice given the lyrical theme of this EP. For instance, "Kingdom of God" songs are more uplifting and melodic in nature, here providing the closest parallels to Hundredth, The Ghost Inside and other bands in the swiftly increasing melodic hardcore bands. You might even be tempted to accuse them of copy-catting said bands, but actually the case is probably the opposite.

"Kingdom Of Man" songs follow suit with God tracks, but with a slightly heavier edge and faster tempo to them than, say, anything from "Waking Giants". We're talking technical lead guitars offering lingering guitar melodies that fill the soundscape nicely, and gang-chanted choral sections, and all that kind of stuff. These aren't just more interesting songs than the balls-to-the-walls chugging of "Kingdom Of Darkness" tracks, they are clearly better structurally, and especially when it comes to the melodies that are solid all-around. Where "Kingdom of God" is the softest group of songs on the record, "...Man" fits right in between the brooding agression and the beautiful atmospheric material of "God", making it the best part of "Kingdoms" overall.

Still, the uplifting melodies aren't as uplifting as on "Waking Giants", and given the sheer number of excellent releases in this exact genre in 2010 and 2011, Life In Your Way don't manage to sound as convincing and enjoyable as their peers I've mentioned already in this review. The concept is intriguing, but the execution of the songs is lacking for a better rating than the one given in this instance.

Download: Who I Am, Forever, Blind In Retrospect, Growth In Passion
For the fans of: The Ghost Inside, Hundredth, Confession
Listen: Bandcamp

Release date 25.10.2011
Self-Released

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