In the shadows cast by the shimmer of candlelight and glimpsed from the hollows of livestock skulls, North Carolina’s Young and in the Way have been toiling with the dark arts in a way yet to be seen by any other. Their debut off Deathwish Inc., When Life Comes to Death is YAITW’s most accomplished work. On the heels of 2011’s V. Eternal Depression, and splits with Withdrawal and Moral Void, YAITW thread together the sinews left from songs like “Times Are Cold,””Midst of Night” and “Vaticide,” birthing a body of work that towers over all previous creations.
The megaton “Betrayed by Light” hisses the album title through a palpable darkness, announcing its arrival with a thunderclap and riffs conjured from the same storm. The icy, piano-laden ending leads into the nasty relentless “Fuck This Life,” a misanthropic sound ravaging that rends you from ear to ear. YAITW have consistently allowed more energy to shine through with each release and here the aggression in the sound has audible veins bursting through the neck-breaking pace. “Be My Blood” is a highlight of this, easily being one of When Life Comes to Death’s best, destined to become a staple of YAITW’s live performance.
The sinister underbelly of the album’s black metal lineage bares its teeth in the opening death throes of “Self Inflicted,” a piece that finds its place in brief glimpses of heavenly melody and lonely passages that eventually tear, fangs first, into the wintry hide of “Loved and Unwanted.” This song exemplifies YAITW’s craft and just how well they’ve harnessed it. As much an anthem from Blashyrkh as it is a vomit-and-blood stain being removed from the wall of a subterranean venue, “Loved and Unwanted” is all blackened crust. The riffs sweep like a crimson-caked morningstar and come down just a crushing, leading no semblance of a skull behind. “Final Dose” is the definition of an assault, the drums launching a never ending seige of blast beats, the guitars dancing erratic and unholy and the vocals rip and roar. The siege relents for a not even a second as “Weep In My Dust” manhandles the reigns, driving this hell horse of an album into the final stretch of its own abyss.
“Take My Hand” invites the listener with contemplative pacing, allowing a hazardous moment of peace to muse over the flesh-hewed battleground left from previous tracks. Not before long, you are led through maggot-infested earth, face-first and forlorn. “Take My Hand” is the standout track of When Life Comes to Death, in addition to being among the band’s best offerings period. “Shadow of a Murder” walks the same black-and-white path as V. Eternal Depression’s, “The Gathering,” albeit with more focus and a doom metal sense of elegance. Nearly a lullaby, “Shadow of a Murder,” is a surprise amid a maelstrom, pairing well with the preceding “Take My Hand,” building a solid bridge on which to ride into the last battle that is “Embrace Extinction.” A sprawling nine minutes, this last track is a towering malevolence that must be bowed to. The snarls and snares clamps onto your jugular. The guitars slash like a deep freeze. The fleeting four minutes are made from agony and drenched in toil. Booming with reward, this record is a trophy, a living violence meant to behold.