Life and death is a very deep, very serious rock opera style album that takes you on a journey from birth through death. It is one of the Jerry Boutot albums that was heavily influenced by the old school metal bands like Iron Maiden. It weaves a path through the various phases of life with a philosophical bent towards western theology. From the billions of soldiers marching off to die or reach a single target to the separation of infancy to the childish hatred of rules and discipline to the “violence and excitement” of teens to the sexual rapture of young adults to the discovery of the passage of time to the realization that it’s all the dust of years gone by to the final blast into the heavens… it’s all there. Grab the headphones and print out the lyrics for this one.
Even though this album was actually released after Life and Death, it is really the very first of the full length Jerry Boutot albums. Also an old school rock opera style album, it is a tragic tale of love once lost. The album takes you on a journey of discovering true love, the acts of self sabotage that destroyed it, and the enduring pain and passage of time that followed. It is a story based on actual events with real life events cleverly concealed in single lines of lyric, like the explosion of a gasoline storage tank in LA in the early 80’s that is portrayed by the line “LA’s on fire burning this into my mind”. Grab the headphones and ladies (and maybe some guys) grab the Kleenex (especially for “Oh, No! Baby don’t go!”).
This album is a much more subtly pervasive rock album. The more you listen to it, the more you will hear and the more it will get under your skin. There are some really, really nice melodies and hooks. The vocals are sung in a lower range from the previous two releases. Originally this was a collaboration effort between Jerry Boutot and Randy McQuilkin. Randy wrote the lyrics and melodies and Jerry created all of the music. This is one of the more special Jerry Boutot Albums from a songwriting standpoint. It’s smooth, it has texture, and there’s quite a lot of attitude masquerading as soft rock. At times it will surprise you with it’s relentless drive. It also has some of the most awesome bass lines and lead solos of any of the Jerry Boutot albums.