The Duskfall - Lifetime Supply Of Guilt
Nuclear Blast
Melodic Death Metal
10 songs (38:04)
Release year: 2005
The Duskfall, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Kayla

While I always try my best not to judge a book by its cover, an album is an entirely different animal. I won’t get into a dissertation about metal art here, but any good album cover is crafted very carefully to communicate the sound and feel of the music inside. This includes the title of the album – the title has to encapsulate in a few bare words the entire experience of listening to the music contained within. Every nuance, every riff, every dynamic change, all packed into a little scrawl on the cover.

Well, maybe that’s going a little far. Still, one can tell a lot from what a band chooses to call their masterpiece. A fan of New York hardcore knows he’s probably not going to be interested in Defending The Throne Of Evil by a band calling itself Carpathian Forest. Likewise, a fan of melodic death metal in the vein of At The Gates or Dark Tranquillity will see a red flag when faced with something titled Lifetime Supply Of Guilt. Given, too, the progression of some of the major players in the melodic death field toward ever more commercial-friendly metalcore or nu-metal, something as angsty-teen friendly as that does not bode well for the music within.

The Duskfall is, overall, a superb band. Their first two albums are both powerful pieces of Gothenburg-style melodic death metal, well-balanced and relentless. They mix aggression, brutality and melody like it’s the most natural combination in music. Coming on the heels of Source, Lifetime Supply Of Guilt is jarring; it fails to capture the raw energy of Source, and it suffers the most from repetition - there are a few songs that sound like someone had an idea and liked it so much they decided to pepper the whole album.

It starts off with Trust Is Overrated, one of the better songs on the album. It's similar in sound to Destroyer from Source, and manages to capture a bit of that same powerful energy found on that album. Thrashier than your average melodeath song, it's a good opener. Oddly enough, the very next song, The Shallow End, is one of the worst songs on the album. About halfway through there appears a rather baffling passage wherein the bass is taken out, the drums and guitar all but disappear and the vocals are muted (think the opening of Jotun by In Flames, but softer, more barren and nonsensical). The song structure itself is different than their previous material; the riffing is simplistic, with a bit of that "chugga-chugga" so beloved by metalcore.

The rest of the album follows in much the same vein; a song or two that capture the quality of The Duskfall’s previous material, followed by something that sounds like the unwanted offspring that resulted when a melodeath band had a drunken, one-night stand with a metalcore band. Besides Trust Is Overrated, A Stubborn Soul stands out as the best example of the former; it could have gone on their first album, Frailty. And yet, soon after comes Going Down Screaming, with a drum line that seems to be trying to match and offset the guitar melody at the same time, and ends up sounding like the beat is just a hair off. Kai Jaakkola's normally standout vocals go through a curious transformation; at the end of the song, it sounds like he's trying to mix his normal midrange melodeath growl with a hardcore-style scream, and ends up sounding like he’s suffering from a particularly nasty chest cold.

After we’ve had both the ridiculous and the sublime, things settle down into nondescript repetition. The pace slows, and the intensity is dialed back quite a bit, with the same riff making appearances in several songs, as well as a couple songs sounding like they’re borrowing choruses from each other (Hours Are Wasted, Shoot It In). Given that this album is much longer than either Frailty or Source, it's not hard for me to believe that the "repeat" songs are simply filler; maybe being on a bigger label (Lifetime Supply Of Guilt was released on Nuclear Blast, while their previous material was on Black Lotus) made them spread too thin on this one; certainly, if you took away The Shallow End, Shoot It In, Going Down Screaming and Downright Dreadful, you'd have an album that could stand proudly in their catalogue, and not something which could be a single sour note, or the precursor to their own fall.

Killing Songs :
Trust Is Overrated, A Stubborn Soul, Sympathy Has Decreased
Kayla quoted 70 / 100
Other albums by The Duskfall that we have reviewed:
The Duskfall - Source reviewed by Jay and quoted 98 / 100
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