Slaves has gone through a lot the last couple weeks. Being accused of pretty severe allegations, being booted off the Vans Warped Tour, and having a song leak off their upcoming album “Routine Breathing,” the band is in a dark place right now. What they need most is some routine breathing of their own, but Jonny Craig and company have done their best with damage control. In regards to their leaked song, they decided to embrace its release, and instead made it available on their website. Being the second song out for the world to hear, I can easily say “Death Never Lets Us Say Goodbye” is better than their planned single released last month.
“Death Never Lets Us Say Goodbye” is a sub-four minute piece, typical of most post-hardcore songs. It’s a shame for progressive fans like myself to be given such a small song to listen to. Like their previously released “Burning Our Morals Away,” much is desired from the listener after the song is over. I couldn’t help asking myself “that’s it?” after the song ended.
Despite its brevity, the song is considerably better than I was expecting. Containing passionate oohs and aahs in the beginning, Jonny Craig’s moving voice dominates the track as he does with every track he’s ever released. The meaning and depth behind the lyrics are personal and dark. Jonny has explained the importance of this song to him on the band’s Facebook page, stating it’s a song about survivor’s guilt and feeling ashamed because he is here instead of a deceased friend. (source) My favorite line from the song is the end of the second verse, summarizing the guilt he feels about this issue:
“I’m struggling with the fact / That I’m still left / But people have died for less” (source)
What makes this song stand out from other Slaves songs is its deep and dark instrumentation. The bass pedal of the drums thumps against my ears with so much intensity thanks to Tai Wright. Even the guitars seemed to be tuned down lower than normal, using chords typically heard on metal albums. I enjoy Alex Lyman’s fret tapping sections over the chorus, along with Colin Viera’s crushing bass lines. The song ends with a piano arrangement and a heart monitor fading in, a cherry on top of this melancholic song.
One of my favorite things about “Death Never Lets Us Say Goodbye” is only a slight detail, but something I feel adds just a little more oomph to the song. Throughout there is a light string section, more than likely played on a keyboard instead of the actual thing. Nonetheless, this minute detail adds so much character to the song, gives it so much more life, and helps define the emotional feeling set in the song. I hope they incorporate more “string” sections to their songs, a sound not present in too many post-hardcore music.
Overall, I was pleased with the song. As short as the song was, and as much as I wanted more, “Death Never Lets Us Say Goodbye” made me want to listen to their upcoming album “Routine Breathing” more than their first single “Burning Our Morals Away.” Whether it was a better performance from Jonny Craig, a more interesting instrumentation, or the more heart-wrenching topic, my interest is piqued with the leaked song.
As stated earlier, Slaves has been through so much in the last couple weeks, and has been left in financial turmoil because of this. If you enjoy their music, I urge you to support this band by visiting their website, or by following them on Facebook and Twitter. They are continually providing discount codes for their merchandise, so please purchase a t-shirt or two.
Check out their newly released “Death Never Lets Us Say Goodbye” below: