If you haven’t heard of The Slow Death by now, you probably aren’t as depressed as the majority of us. Luckily their new album No Heaven hits the spot for the more cynical listener. Which, lets face it, punk rock has never been about sugar coating the bullshit that comes with life. If it wasn’t the album cover with a toilet bowl full of roses that gives away their dark demeanor, Jesse "Pretty Boy" Thorson’s lyrics are bound to. The Slow Death can easily be placed amongst the handful of typical Midwest punk bands, but whether it’s Thorson’s diehard ‘life is shit’ attitude or his alcohol-induced vocals, they are standing out amongst the crowd.
Although, I have to admit that the first few listens to No Heaven didn’t grab me as much as Born Ugly Got Worse, but once I got past comparing the two albums, I got more into the former. Born Ugly Got Worse is the kind of record you can listen to in your room and feel like you’re at a punk show. No Heaven isn’t quite there for me and and I could see it becoming more dynamic at an actual show. I don’t think No Heaven has exceeded or even built on the dynamics of the previous record, but it does have its highlights.
“Nowhere Left To Sleep” is the kind of song you become addicted to and know all the words to by heart. “I Need A Drink” is not only something we can all relate to, but I’m pretty sure Thorson had a few drinks in him while singing this. Not that it’s a bad thing, but more so impressive that it sounds like he just downed shots of whiskey, further adding to his gritty vocals. “No Heaven” is a good anthem song that I can see going over well at live shows—it’s dark, depressing, and everything you’d want The Slow Death to be.
Others might not agree, but “Raise Your Head Up” is the standout track for me. Some might interpret it as lackluster because it’s a slow track that almost hits you out of nowhere, but that just adds to the appeal. It has a stripped-down approach to the honesty that life is shit and I can’t help but wish there were more songs like this on the record. Maybe then it would get boring, but as it is, this track just leaves me wanting more. “We might as well stop breathing/and nobody seems to care.” Thorson sings. But if The Slow Death keeps making records like No Heaven, I’ll keep caring about them.