The existence of Have a Nice Life is almost an anomaly. What started as a musical project in a bedroom, turned into Deathconsciousness, a debut double album, critically acclaimed and achieving a cult following. However, even after such a phenomenal start the band is shrouded in a certain mystique and anonymity, with live shows and musical output being scarce. This makes their two shows at Roadburn simultaneously befitting as well as a bit confounding. But either way it’s a treat for everyone involved, as the early birds at the last day of Roadburn get a chance to experience an achingly mournful yet surprisingly uplifting performance in the form of Deathconsciousness.
Editor: Merijn Siben
Part 1: The Plow That Broke The Plains
The first part of the cult classic is The Plow That Broke The Plains, starting with sorrowful keys and a dreamlike atmosphere. Soon however, downtuned guitars, a distorted bass guitar and steady beats make their way into the 013. The accompanying visuals are beautifully created live on the spot. They spell the band’s name, before showing a wide array of images throughout the show. Diversity is the key here, whether it be soothing soundscapes bursting with desperation before ultimately exploding into a disarming breakdown. Near the end of the first half, there’s even a hard rocking passage barreling towards an epic finale, signaling that the Future is upon us.
Part 2: The Future
The visuals appear to show a hack in progress. But something seems amiss, because as The Future is spelled out, it quickly morphs into images of pixelated constructs, suggesting a sterile and digitalized world. Ironically though, the second part of the album sounds lighter, more uplifting even, which provides a nice contrast. “We can make whatever we want, nobody is ever going to hear it. This means the world to us”, says vocalist Daniel Barrett regarding their first album and their show at Roadburn. Soon after, Have A Nice Life concludes their set with a phenomenal, stomping climax, with Barret crawling around over the stage floors. Reaching its apex with Earthmover, making the listener experience the feeling of floating euphorically in the sky, draining away all of life’s sorrows.
Ultimately, the full performance of Have a Nice Life was an intimate journey of sound, played with passion and commitment. Deathconsciousness may sound anxious, tragic even, but ultimately and perhaps unintentionally, is an album brimming with life, and one worth living at that.