Titus Andronicus’ The Will to Live, jumps out of your speakers from the get-go and doesn’t give you a moment of rest until it finishes taking you on its 51-minute journey. Throughout my listening, I kept turning the volume down bit by bit. As it was a quiet day at home, I didn’t need to rattle the walls and possibly upset the neighbours. But no matter how low the volume got, it still sounded loud. In those first few power rock songs, every guitar chord sounded like it was being played with a windmill. Every lyric sounded like it was being sung for a stadium full of roaring, fist-pumping, fans. I almost expected to hear a chorus of “I wanna rock and roll all night and party every day!” at some point.
But then songs like “Dead Meat” and “Baby Crazy” were examples of classic punk rock, and brought me right into a dark dingy club, in a pit crashing the stage. Songs seamlessly moved from one to the next. A song like “An Anomaly”, with a chorus about the devil, made way for “Give Me Grief”, which had a catchy pop melody. And it all broke my brain like a sledgehammer.
The play, from which this band takes its name, is a tragedy filled with death, murder, revenge, grief, mourning, and even cannibalism. It’s dark. And it’s a fitting name for a band making this kind of music.
My favourites songs were those that ended the record. The heavy rocking of “We’re Coming Back” and “69 Stones” which softly says goodbye. An upright piano, harmonizing vocals, drums played with a brush, and even a harmonica to close it out. That one, I felt, needed to rattle my walls a little. Yes, that was a satisfying album.