01. Thoughtscan
02. Back to Black (Amy Winehouse cover)

RATING: 8/10

The French-Bulgarian duo known as WE ALL DIE (LAUGHING) have a lot on their twisted minds, so much they've compacted it all into an expressive and often anguished 33-minute composition constituting their debut release, "Thoughtscanning".

Comprised of CARNIVAL IN COAL/6:33 (and Rock Hard journalist) singer Arno Strobl and multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Deha (C.O.A.G. and MALADIE), WE ALL DIE (LAUGHING) shows remarkable aptitude for pulling off what they do on the album's focal track, "Thoughtscan". Not many artists can keep a single half hour song (much less an hour, unless you're SLEEP or GREEN CARNATION) engaging, but Strobl and Deha do just that, even with only a few minor quibbles along the way.

Frankly, it's the instrumentation (all fielded by Deha) over the singing that presents the most appeal here, albeit the exchanged vocal pitches are fun if occasionally unhinged and vexing in sections of "Thoughtscan". Of course, the intent of this project is to give voice to torment and dark emotions, so no matter how discordant and unnerving the wailing gets in spots, it's all part of the daunting journey. On the positive side, there are grizzled nudges toward Mike Patton, Ihsahn and King Diamond, and even the incremental tradeoff death yelps are well-executed. Altogether, the unpredictable nature of Strobl and Deha's scattershot vocal ranges adds creepy spontaneity throughout the spacious yet curving drive of "Thoughtscan".

Expect "Thoughtscan" to veer through many brackets of metal ranging from black to power to Goth to grind, exploding in spots with tight propulsions that are constantly pulled back no matter how fast WE ALL DIE (LAUGHING) gets at times. Deha impressively furnishes his guitar lines between ornate and grotesque, just like the vocal tracks in this piece. Manic reed squeaks poke in like provoking demoniacs and piano fragments serve as barely-grounded steps ushering the listener into the next successive plane of lunacy lying in wait. Feelings of paranoia are omnipresent, no matter when the throttles are eased by these guys.

What's most impressive about "Thoughtscan" is its resonant intro and outro that logically sustains a placid if ethereal spirit of continuum, no matter how many directions the composition darts in-between. Deha's sprawling and funky bass plunks beneath his ghostly guitar lines are soon morphed into pleasing note dragging rock distortion that feels like a PINK FLOYD number you know is bound to be eviscerated in due time. The return of Deha's docile measures at the end shows the duo's muse returning to his wits after losing himself in madness, which gives "Thoughtscan" an appreciable sense of morality. No matter how messed-up, cruel and frightening "Thoughtscan" may get, there's these bookended moments of stability that holds the track (and its audience) in check and thankfully feels like much-needed relief. Then again, the endpoint to "Thoughtscan" comes with the eruptive interruption to the denouement, so let all suppositions of sanity be dismissed.

If you're one of the first 1,000 to snag the first pressing of "Thoughtscanning", you'll get a gruesome bonus cover of Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black", which is to be heard to be believed.


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