A Life Unto Itself

With minimalistic guitar and haunting melody, Steve Von Till has released another solid solo album via Nuerot Recordings on Tuesday, May 12.

Having spent a large portion of the last two decades working on music, it would seem that Von Till’s lifetime of experiences have finally coalesced to form a darkly beautiful record that is all at once bold and reserved, a folk sound with a metal spirit.

Since 1989 Steve Von Till has been the lead vocalist and guitarist for the West Coast post-metal band Neurosis. In 2000, he released his first solo album “As The Crow Flies” with a similar intent. However, the 2015 release of “A Life Unto Itself” has seen 15 years more growth and planning than “As The Crow Flies,” and as such it feels fuller. “A Life Unto Itself,” from “In Your Wings” to “Known But Not Named,” is an unassuming dive into the depths of Steve Von Till.

Each track displays a sparse amount of guitar, and most have lightly ambient strings and percussion meant to support the full-bodied echo of Von Till’s hoarse vocalizations. The overwhelmingly slow pace of the album supports his voice as well, leaving his lyrics constantly clear and audible. Be that as it may, however, the pace of the album does leave something to be desired.

“A Life Unto Itself” does drag along for some time, with the shortest song coming in at over five minutes long. It doesn’t help that none of the songs are particularly upbeat and cheery either. But, different music calls for different occasions, and “A Life Unto Itself” certainly checks the box for brooding stoicism. Understandably though, that doesn’t make the album good for everyday easy listening. However, it certainly is worth the effort to find out when it does sound the best.

In short, “A Life Unto Itself” is a strong new album from a seasoned musician, a worthwhile foray into a heavier folk sound. It may take a certain mood for this music to hit the target it’s aiming for, but when it does, it’s sure to be a bulls-eye.

The cover of Steve Vo Till newest album.