Lowlife’s ‘Deadweight’ is proof that just because you can do something, that doesn’t mean that you should.
Lowlife are a small, relatively newish slamming deathcore band from Michigan who self-describe themselves as being “Heavier than depression“. Oh great. Now, you may have seen their name floating around this past week as the American band dropped a new song by the name of ‘Deadweight‘, which guest features not one, not two, but ELEVEN other deathcore vocalists. No, I’m not joking. It’s a whopping twelve vocalists when you finally include LowLife’s own screamer, Caleb Branham, who only gets two small parts in his own band’s newest single.
As for all of the actual vocalists that are propping up this track’s profile, it’s a veritable who’s-who of the current popular deathcore crop. You’ve got CJ from Thy Art Is Murder, Chelsea Grin’s Tom Barber, Lorna Shore’s CJ McCreery, Rheese Peters from The Senate, Ben Duer from Shadow Of Intent, and many more. Legit, the only other big names not present here are Phil Bozeman from Whitechapel and Scott Lewis of Carnifex. (At least there was some of our Aussies in there.)
In theory, without actually putting it into practise, this is a pretty cool idea. And I suppose for the people out there who only listen to deathcore and slam music, this is probably a wet-dream for them to have so many big names on one song. But just because you can do something, that doesn’t mean that you should. The only way I can describe this utter madness is “vocalist fetishization”; almost like this band are really trying hard to over-compensate for something else. Namely good song-writing. In one way, this song’s set-up is basically telling everyone that: “our vocalist isn’t great, here’s 11 better and more well-known vocalists instead“.
Here’s an over-view for ‘Deadweight‘, with all of the relevant time-stamps included for each respective guest part:
Damn, that’s a lotta deathcore dudes!
Despite the varying vocalists, lyrically, this is just slam 101: people suck, fuck you, the world needs to end, and bloodshed is all that matters. Cue low chugs and booming breakdowns. Yet no one really comes to these kinds of bands for the lyrics, most people are just here for the heavies. And as for the actual music here, ‘Deadweight‘ sure is deathcore; it sure is slam and nothing else. The song itself is ludicrously heavy, but that’s just a dick-measuring contest, really. Nothing more than metal bands seeing how they can outdo one another’s heaviness levels. Which as you can image, gets super old, super quickly. ‘Deadweight‘ also highlights how some of these guys, while having great projection and real power to their talented voices, aren’t often the most distinct voices around. If anything, it’s simply a round-house trip through the various extreme vocal styles that we already see in the modern scene.
Over these six and a half minutes, there’s different sections used for each vocalist’s specific spot, seemingly trying to evoke the kind of moments that one would see in their own original bands. Which is an understandable approach, to be fair. However, I’m not sure how Lowlife would even pull this song off live, either having other vocalist friends do these parts, or at least getting a couple of these guesting stars to join them up on-stage. Which could be quite hard due to logistics, time and juggling everyone’s different schedules too. And that’s even if these guys decide to do live shows too.
Premiered via Slam Worldwide, this over-kill guest vocalist gimmick as a marketing tool has definitely worked. For instance, I certainly hadn’t heard of Lowlife before now, and I think that’ll go for many others listeners out there. Just looking over the 2019 Slam Worldwide releases, this video (at the time of writing) now sits at 26K views. Which is a decent effort given that only a select few of the channel’s other recent uploads this year have hit similar numbers: Rendered Helpless‘ new album stream (22K), Angry Reacts Only latest single (25K), and the latest World End Man’s clip (26K), among very few others hitting over five figures. So, in essence, this new Lowlife track’s personnel may have done it’s marketing job for the band. Of course, these absolutely aren’t big numbers in the grand scheme of YouTube nor larger metal bands, but for slamming deathcore and that underground scene, those are some semi-decent stats that’ll probably just go up and up.
In terms of money, Lowlife can spend their money on whatever they chose. But when you break it down and consider that some of these guys charge around the $500 mark for their vocal efforts – with CJ McMahon apparently (key-word) charging around $1K now for guest spots – this one track could be sitting around $3K or more just to get the all of the vocals in and finalised. While I confidently assume these guys have other material coming later this year, this seems like a (very) expensive one-off for what it is, honestly. That being said, maybe this will actually do well for Lowlife in the long run and they’ll make their money back. I can’t imagine that they will, as not even 15 people have purchased the track yet on their Bandcamp as of publishing, but hey, I could end up being wrong.
Look, if you’re morbidly curious, have a listen to 11 big-name deathcore vocalists featuring Lowlife below: