Steve Von Till - A Life Unto Itself - (8.5/10)
Published on June 5, 2015
Steve Von Till is a man that needs no introduction. A staple in the metal world for years with Neurosis, he is also no stranger to side projects that explore a bit of a different sound of music. From Harvestman to Tribes of Neurot, and especially his self-titled releases, Von Till has a vast discography, and 2015 sees the newest addition to that catalogue. A Life Unto Itself, coming of course from Neurot Recordings, features the singer’s slower, and more folk influenced tendencies coming together for a wonderful collection of dark, brooding and reflective tracks that leave a real impact on the listener when all is said and done.
Those that have followed the self-titled albums of Von Till will know going in that these albums have a more laid back, folk and Americana style. The sparse acoustic guitar coupled with Steve’s incredibly powerful rasp create the majority of the work, with a few strings/synths and percussion to really solidify the pieces into a more complete sounding whole. These elements are out in full-force on this recording. Each song features some simple acoustic guitar and that signature voice penetrating deep within the listener and really creating a reflective, and introspective listen. Each strum and every vocal line drips with emotion and purpose, all while the extra instruments flesh out the album, bringing out the emotion just that much more.
Each track does a wonderful job differentiating itself from the prior, and also tell their own stories. While there is plenty of cohesion to A Life Unto Itself, there is still plenty of little nuanced variety to make each piece stand on its own while continuing an overall narrative. Much like a Neurosis album, there are peaks in just the right places, and a “lull” or two here and there to just build the excitement and progress to the next section in a fully satisfying way. The longer track lengths and run-time allow each piece to explore every avenue needed, and reach a logical conclusion while nothing feels missing or lacking.
While the audience for such a project may not seem as wide as a Neurosis, it is impossible to deny the wonderful skill of this metal legend. While the dark Americana sounding solo project is a different beast entirely from his main work, it is no less impressive and important. Solemn and reflective, the album is no less heavy than anything else the man has placed his name to, albeit not volume wise. Never one to disappoint, A Life Unto Itself continues along a long line of Steve Von Till related works that will have a lasting impression on anyone that listens.