By Dr. Abner Mality

Epic single tracks that last an entire album always have a huge strike against them...they don't hold up well to repeated plays. Even the ones that are really good, like Edge of Sanity's ground-breaking "Crimson", aren't something you casually throw on to listen to several times in a row.

We All Die (Laughing) has taken a stab at their own massive song called "Thoughtscanning". I would actually put this in the upper level of one-track giants, but it's still something that requires a ton of attention. Also, it's not exactly the happiest and most uplifting music in the world, fact, it's as grim as hell. But you can tell that this mega-tune is something that WADL has sunk a lot of time and effort's carefully laid out and plotted, with a definite beginning and end. There is a unifying theme and lots of little details that stand out. But it's still one hell of a tough slog.

The band is a collaboration between singer Arno Strobl from the avant-garde French weirdoes Carnival in Coal, if you remember them and an equally eccentric Bulgarian named Deha, who does a one-man grind project called C.O.A.G.  Strobl is quite a powerful singer. He puts a ton of emotion into his clean vocals and his harsh screams are almost unbearably anguished. There's a lot of anguish to go around on "Thoughtscanning" and both these guys stretch themselves to the utmost. Long stretches of the song are subdued and gloomy...not all that heavy but having emotional weight. The addition of some very bluesy guitar licks and instruments like saxophone and clarinet add texture. The pace is generally slow and doomy, but there are blasts of raucous black metal and just plain heaviness. The song is 33 minutes plus and has as many peaks and valleys as the Swiss Alps.It's not mindless headbanging music, but more like a tortured, heavy Pink Floyd. It does get pretentious and even dull in spots, but it holds up remarkably well if you're in the mood.

I don't know if we'll be hearing from We All Die (Laughing) again. "Thoughtscanning" has the feel of a project more than a band. But it's quite an interesting take on album-length songs and I can definitely recommend it to adventurous metal fans looking for something different.