Artist: The Last Ten Seconds Of Life


If you can still reason at all after your skull’s bludgeoned by the towering riffs that comprise Soulless Hymns, the new full-length by Pennsyl- vania heavies The Last Ten Seconds Of Life, there’s plenty to make you ponder, at least once your ears stop bleeding. The band have always strived to pair pummeling music with intelligent, thought-provoking lyrics, but three is apparently the proverbial charm for the still-maturing band.

TLTSOL’s forthcoming third full-length, to be released January 13 on Density Records—is at once their most accomplished and articulate recording yet, and finally conveys the blistering sound fans have come to expect at TLTSOL shows.

“This record really captures the sound we have live; it definitely has a crushing sound. It’s full, and it’s thick, and there’s so much low end,” says guitarist and key songwriter Wyatt McLaughlin. “The tones for the guitar and bass are finally how I want them to sound... Each album’s unique, and I’ll always love them all, but this one’s just out of control.”

The band—which also includes vocalist Storm Strope, drummer Christian Fisher and bassist Anthony Madara—formed in 2010 in northern central Pennsylvania, while the members were attending Mansfield University. Taking their name from a Smiths lyric, by 2011 they were already off touring, playing their own self-booked gigs, and then self-released their debut album, Know Your Exits, in October of that year. After touring exten- sively in support of that release the band dropped their next full-length, Invivo/[Exvivo], in 2013. Widely considered another step forward for the group, the record led to high-profile runs like the “Hate Across America Tour,” also featur- ing Thy Art Is Murder, I Declare War, Fit For An Autopsy and Kublai Khan, and more recently, the Periphery Tour, along with Born of Osiris.

Once again for Soulless Hymns the band returned to Lancaster, Pa. to record at Atrium Audio with producer Carson Slovak (August Burns Red, Texas in July) and engineer Grant McFarland, who also helmed Invivo/[Exvivo] and Know Your Exits. The combination of comfort and familiarity with the setting, as well as Slovak and McFarland’s own ever-growing expertise, yielded what McLaughlin describes as the band’s most sonically impressive effort to date.

“We’re very comfortable with [Slovak and McFar- land], and I think they’re just getting better and better. They’re just really on their game,” says McLaughlin. “They killed it this time. They

crushed it. It’s definitely the best-sounding record we’ve done yet.”

Pulled from a lyric in opening cut “As the World Turns Over,” the title Soulless Hymns is intended to convey a vivid scene where esoteric truths lay waiting within a rare, time-weathered book. “Think about going into an old building or a house and exploring, and you find all these dust-covered books. You pull out this one book, and it’s got this old writing. You blow the dust off and it just has Soulless Hymns on the front. You open it up and each chapter is one of our songs,” explains McLaughlin. “There are certain books similar to that—like nursery rhymes—and this is like that, except a little darker...a little more real. They’re short stories, but they deal with human emotion, human thought and everyday things.”

Of those tales contained within Soulless Hymns, perhaps none hit closer to home than first single “North of Corpus,” which relates an extremely difficult period McLaughlin endured amid the band’s last round of touring.

“It’s pretty much about mental, physical and transcendental distress on a 24-hour trip home,” reflects McLaughlin. “It goes through that whole experience.”

Other tracks are more primal and unrelenting in their sentiment, from the unabashed sexuality of “Pain is Pleasure” to the unchecked aggression of “Changing Forms.” “It’s an extremely angry song,” says McLaughlin of the latter. “It stems from just terrible shit that happens to you, and you feel like lashing out. It’s a way to put stuff into a song so you don’t actually have to ever do it.”

McLaughlin also revisits popular themes from past TLTSOL songs, particular his struggles and eventual reckoning with life’s most pressing existential and philosophical dilemmas. After a late night of drinking and ruminating with a close friend he was moved to write “The Box,” which lyrically foregoes the search for one answer, and instead embraces the realization that there are many things in this existence that one can never know or understand.

“There’s this quote by John Locke that basically says, ‘You can’t spend all your time trying to answer questions that you can never know.’ What he’s getting at is to focus on what you do know and make the best experience out of it. You might know some day, but that’s just how it is,” says McLaughlin. “‘The Box’ is pretty much about that realization; when you come to that. I used to

be like that—questioning everything—but I changed; I had an epiphany. It’s one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written lyrically, because it feels empowering.”

Although most of McLaughlin’s songs are rooted in his own life, he ventures into new territory on Soulless Hymns with the track “Ballad of the Butcher,” which he describes as a “murder ballad” inspired by the Louvin Brothers’ Appala- chian dirge “Knoxville Girl,” which was itself based on the early English ballad “The Oxford Girl.” McLaughlin says “Ballad of the Butcher” carries on that morbid tradition, of course with a much harder edge than its predecessors.

“Ever since I heard [“Knoxville Girl”] I was interested,” says McLaughlin. “It’s almost like a book or a movie, so I wrote something I just made up, which is something I’d never really done, but was cool to do. I wrote it from both first- and third-person mindsets.”

With Soulless Hymns slated for a January 13 release, the band is about to embark on their first tours supporting the album: As of January 8 TLTSOL will be appearing on the “Slow Your Troll and Know Your Role” tour, which is co-headlined by Upon A Burning Body and Veil of Maya; the group will also soon be performing at the March 2015 South By So What Festival in Texas. McLaughlin says the band plans to introduce at least two new tracks into the upcoming sets, wedged between favorites from all of TLTSOL’s prior releases. Ultimately though, the group believes the latest batch of songs will quickly become fan favorites.

“How many records you sell is obviously a category of success, but I’d say mainly we hope that kids think it’s the best material we’ve written,” says McLaughlin. “After some of the clips we’ve put up online, it feels like people are blown away and really digging it. I can’t wait until they hear the full thing.”

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Loudwire just launched a poll to determine the most anticipated new release for the month of January and that The Last Ten Seconds of Life’s Soulless Hymns has been nominated!
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THE LAST TEN SECONDS OF LIFE today premiere a brand new song entitled “North of Corpus” exclusively on Beheading The Traitor. The song is taken from SOULLESS HYMNS, the band’s forthcoming full-length that will be released on JanuaryRead More »