ALBUM REVIEW | SMRTDEATH - WE'LL BE ALRIGHT
Smrtdeath taps Toronto producer Audio Opera to produce the entirety of We’ll Be Alright, lil death’s hot new project.
It has been just over a year since Sethany was released to widespread acclaim across Soundcloud and underground hip-hop music blogs, now Smrtdeath is back with an even bigger project that is sure to catch the attention of labels and media across the U.S. and Canada. After recently being selected as one of the few artists to receive huge support as part of the JUNO Master Class, Smrtdeath showed no sign of slowing his progression up to the release of this project. We’ll Be Alright is a super concise album with 9 tracks all exclusively produced by Audio Opera out of Toronto. By doing this, the artist and the producer were able to create a sound that carried throughout the whole project without anything feeling like it doesn’t belong. The track layout made sense and the movement from song to song is smooth and enjoyable. There is something to love about every song on this album.
Smrtdeath gets the project moving instantly with “Better Off” being the fun and catchy track that it is. At this point, I am already in awe of the co-operation between the production and Smrtdeath’s vocals and I knew that I was in for an amazing project. The pre-chorus is easily one of the most memorable sections of this whole album as the focus is entirely on the vocalist and the imagery laid out by the lyrics is perfect. This track, as well as a few others, feel like it talks about Smrtdeath being addicted to impossible relationships that are just going to turn out bad but he still comes back around for more. “Gave U My Heart Said Don’t Fuck Around With It” is a heartfelt track showing Smrtdeath baring all of his feelings of a love lost over the haze of bass, guitar, and the odd horse neigh. The song itself does feel at times like a sad and lonely night out in the plains with Smrtdeath confessing his thoughts to the cool air only to receive no response. His melodies in this song work well with the production and really make this track feel more like a love ballad than anything. This next track is easily my favourite from the project due to the fact that I cannot get the hook out of my head, it is just that good. The effects on Smrtdeath’s vocals throughout the song add the right flavour and help the melodies and the hook to become the earworm that it is. The steady guitar picking carries the song and give it that nostalgic, pop-punk sound from the mid-’00s. In this song, Smrtdeath expresses his feelings about a relationship that keeps running down the same path leaving him hurt and confused as to what to do next. “Ice Out My Bones" is the next song on the album that also served as the first single/music video that was released when promotion for the project was started. This song features a rare Smrtdeath that’s feeling himself and wanting to pursue his goals being successful in his art and spending his money on fashion and whatever else people try and tell him not to. The song serves as a rebellious anthem against social norms and how jealous people will be jealous but your fans will still love you to the end.
Someone call Simple Plan and let them know that their music is back in style because Smrtdeath is literally slaying that sound in “Yung Disaster”. Another boisterous song like the previous that focuses more on dealing with addictions and self-confidence issues while coming to accept the fact that life for some is just “disaster-prone”. The production on this song literally feels like it could have slid in as a hit on Simple Plan’s Still Not Getting Any and I can’t get enough of it. “Yung Disaster” was also premiered as a single with a music video that shows a struggling Smrtdeath dealing with not being able to perform in his band to going on to find a new band that gets swallowed up by the music industry only to leave it all behind. “Moonlight” is the next song on the album and the video (see above) was released along with the album. This track is on the darker side of Smrtdeath’s releases similar to tracks like “Pretty Carcass” and “Porcelain”. Audio Opera has captured the essence of a graveyard during a full moon for the production of this song, paired with Smrtdeath’s pain-filled vocals “Moonlight” succeeds at creating a feeling of loss and emptiness. As we come back from the dark space of the last track, Smrtdeath picks up the pace by placing the literal up-tempo track “Tempo” next in the track listing. The saying “live-fast die-hard” would be the mentality that Smrtdeath is trying to avoid as he realizes that things start spinning out of control and in order to be with the person he wants to be with, he has to slow it down. “Tempo”, ironically the fastest track as well as the shortest, comes about at an interesting time in Smrtdeath’s life with the opportunity to move to L.A. to work on his career being the next big move. Although things might speed up in this new fast-paced city, focusing on the "tempo” at which things come into and out of your world might be something to heed. “Ghost” speaks largely to those that feel under-appreciated by their peers whether it is in high school, at work, or in your city as a budding artist. This feeling can be very daunting to anyone that is passionate about something in their lives and Smrtdeath feels this way about Winnipeg. Speaking from experience, the prairies can be a cold and difficult place to begin a career in the arts. A large portion of the population tends to be on the reserved side of things so when the colourful Sethany comes barging into the community it is no surprise that people are apprehensive. That’s not to say that there isn’t any love in the prairies because there really is. There is a lot of passionate people with various ideals, interests, etc. and when you get on their side they will support 100%, but it takes time. The final track on the album is “Hold Me Down” and again we see the same message being portrayed as in “Ghost” but with a twist. Smrtdeath sings about only leaving for a minute and planning on changing things, especially with the ones he is close with when he returns. He goes on saying that “she holds me down” as if she is the only real reason he will come back.
We’ll Be Alright arrived at a huge moment in Smrtdeath’s career as he finishes up a tour with artists Nothing, Nowhere and Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, two large artists in the underground emo scene, as well as finishing things up in Winnipeg before making the big move to Los Angeles. The timing is appropriate, the title of the album is to assure everyone that things will be alright, for Smrtdeath, for the fans, for the ones he keeps close to him. The album displays a lot of emotion and acts as a final tell all before things change for a period of time. The production is impeccable throughout the album and I can’t stress enough about how much I appreciate a concise, album with a sound that is unique to the artists contributing to the project and these two nailed it. We’ll Be Alright easily makes it as one of my favourite albums of the year to those qualities alone. So what’s next for the red-haired trailblazer from the cold prairies? All I know is I’m excited to see what happens, knowing the potential that Smrtdeath has at being a great artist and all the support from his fans he’ll be alright. All of us at ELEVEN03 wish him luck on his move and are stoked for what the future holds for him.