Being from Massachusetts, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing a lot of great hardcore bands come from the Bay State. Some of them go on to nation- or world-wide recognition, while others never make it out of local VFW halls. Last Lights, a band based out of Worcester, seemed destined for the former. The ferocious quintet formed in the summer of 2008, releasing a demo, a self-titled 7″, and a split 7″ with Bad Habit later in the year. The band was making quite a buzz in the local scene with their intense live shows. They had the passion, dedication, and raw talent that many bands lack.
Tragedy struck on December 5, 2008 when vocalist, lyricist, and primary songwriter Dominic Mallary abruptly passed away as the result of complications from Last Lights’ previous night’s performance. His untimely death at the age of 24 was undeniably tragic, but he lived life passionately and died doing what he loved. Following his passing, Think Fast, the label with which the band had just signed, announced that they would release this, a discography album entitled No Past, No Present, No Future. The album combines the band’s ten previously released songs with a new instrumental track recorded by the remaining members in January of 2009 as a tribute to the fallen frontman.
Mallary’s poetically nihilistic, socially-conscious lyrics read like lines out of Fight Club. He sings about his disdain for the world around him, be it dead-end jobs, crime on the streets, or society in general. One thing is made clear through his words: Mallary lived his live by his own rules and did so passionately. I don’t mean to focus solely on Mallary, but even if he hadn’t passed away, this review would be very much the same. He truly made Last Lights what they were with his heartfelt lyrics and vicious delivery, while the band backed him with fittingly aggressive, punk-influenced hardcore music. Sonically, the band is not a far cry from classic hardcore/punk bands such as Black Flag and Minor Threat.
Some say that the greatest hardcore bands only release one album before breaking up and falling into obscurity. In that respect, No Past, No Present, No Future will undoubtedly be the Last Lights’ swan song among those lucky enough to discover it. It’s truly a shame that the band was only able to record about twenty minutes of material, because this showcases just how impressive they were. If the band was this good six months after forming, one can only imagine what they would be like a couple years down the road. Although Mallary is no longer with us, he will forever live on through his words and music. I believe that’s exactly how he would have wanted it.
“This is my prayer: no past, no present, no future”
Release Date: 4/28/2009