on my deathbed. - romance with a bodycount of two
By Gote McDonald
A FRESH BLAST FROM THE PAST: Armed with deadly aesthetics, on my deathbed. bursts onto the scene with a faithful revival of 2000s emo they claim never died.
I saw on my deathbed. a couple of months ago at Eclipse, one of the newer venues in town. I got there just in time to watch their set as headliners, and even with bands dropping out last minute causing a large gap between performances, the energy they captured was nothing short of inspiring. This young, talented band had clearly created a devoted following of likeminded individuals completely unafraid to express themselves in the band's presence.
The turnout was good that night; not crazy, but it didn't need to be. What struck me was that absolutely everyone in the room was moving, and not to humor the band—like really losing themselves in the sound. Half of the audience clearly knew the songs, and that's saying something seeing as how this round of tracks appears to be their first on major streaming platforms.
I had heard a lot about on my deathbed. from our mutual friends and seeing them in their home venue was a thing to behold. That show was organized and booked by the band's brain, Allan Sanford, who plays guitar and vocals alongside fellow high-schooler Sethe Elkins. Rounding out the 5-piece act is lead singer Nick Bland, drummer Fernando Crespin, and bassist Donny Lopez, although if you check the song credits on streaming platforms Lopez is not there because it's Sanford playing bass for these recordings.
Recorded in Sanford's basement in the span of a hectic weekend, production for this project was heavily delayed due to guitarist/vocalist Sethe Elkins getting a concussion at the inaugural Morbidfest. The fest was a stacked metal show put on by...you guessed it: Allan Sanford, that also took place at Eclipse. “Morbid” refers to Sanford’s apparel brand MORBID CLOTHING that's also been gaining buzz for its abrasive neo-goth aesthetics that tend to grace the covers and flyers for the band's output as well. Elkins became concussed during a particularly rowdy pit during a set for Albuquerque hardcore act, Itami, and it put him out for a crucial two weeks in the final month before the album's release. Not wanting to delay the release, the band got straight to work as soon as Elkins had fully recovered, and now it's here: romance with a bodycount of two by on my deathbed.
Track one starts with a brief tone-setting feedback-backed spoken word intro that immediately throws you into a sample of how this band gets down—quick and tough. As fast as it begins, it ends, and track two does not slow down. "…and they say romance is dead" is so classic it hurts. The breakdown is way heavy and seals the band's song-making abilities, showing you why they're so good at activating a crowd.
The next couple songs, Cure reminiscently titled "drink me! drink me! drink me!" and merch-backed "you don't have to go to texas for a massacre" keep on delivering the quick riffs and devastatingly upset vocal delivery where their forte lies. "i gave you your underoath jacket back, so where's my apology" is the album's breather, heartfelt acoustic track written by Sanford all the way back in 2016 has a title that just brings you pure joy (one of the absolute best signatures of emo as a whole if we're being honest).
The next 3 tracks follow the same pattern as the 3 that precede it, 2 bread & butter thrash arounds and then a breather, this time in the form of piano piece, "katrina," which at first glance looks like an edge-lord style title inspired by the hurricane, but is credited to a Katrina Mickey. A nice come down from a full-feeling project that doesn't overstay its welcome and leaves you wanting more.
Regarding production, there are blank spaces at the end of the recordings on streaming services, which feels like this effort's biggest shortcoming! It's possible one of these instances are creative and I can appreciate that, but it happens about 3 times. One of the silent spaces is over a minute. Obviously, this is just a side-effect of the circumstances, and it's still possible to fix so this is a negligible note.
I can see myself coming back to this a lot despite the technical shortcomings of the mix, but it's clear this band deserves a sonic upgrade. Judging by their overall skill and thorough attention to detail I'm sure they won't have trouble attaining that for themselves in the future.