Lifesavers Underground formed circa 1986. Their debut album SHADED PAIN came out in 1987. THIS IS THE HEALING dropped in 1991. The group released their first album under the name L. S. Underground in 1992 (THE GRAPE PROPHET). In 2012 they made a comeback with PTSD (Legacy Edition-Retroactive Records/Blonde Vinyl Records). On this release Michael Knott (lead vocals, guitars) is joined by seven other musicians including Brian Doidge, Jim Chaffin, Joshua Lory and Rick McDonough. The liner notes fill us in on the purpose of the album: “It has been in Knott’s heart to create an album that would bring awareness to the overwhelming difficulties that U.S. and allied troops encounter upon returning from combat especially Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD, the leading cause for homelessness as well as alcohol and drug abuse among veterans, is a psychological and neurological disorder. This is heavy subject matter that needs to be brought to the surface in order to honor and help those who have served our country”.
The album begins with ‘Acclimation’ which includes these tongue-in-cheek words: “Welcome back to the land of milk and honey/Thank you for your service, sonny/Acclimate to society/Give it some time (2X)”. ‘Souls are so Low’ has more of a poppier sound musically and asks a good question in regards to soldiers: “How shall we move these souls?/Souls are all so low (2X)”.
‘The Hallows’ is an energetic rocker that speaks of the alienation soldiers feel when returning from war: “I can’t get over the hallows...No one knows me”. ‘My Redemption’ is stripped down musically and relates the thoughts of a soldier which include both despair and hope: “Gonna get my truck/Gonna get my car/I’m gonna scream right now/Don’t give a...bout what you think/Gonna turn it up, turn it up real loud/I been through too much/To get over all that now/Gonna get real mad/I’m gonna feel real down.../Sometimes I feel I see heaven/Risin’ up through the smokey skies/Sometimes I feel I’m forgiven”.
‘Child’s Prayer’ finds a child praying for his or her Dad: “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus/Help my Dad”. The song is intense and passionate. ‘Miss America’ addresses the difficult memories of a medic on the front lines. Knott’s vocals are delivered with great emotion as is the electric guitar part.
Long-time Michael Knott fans will appreciate ‘A Shade of Pain’, a ballad with lovely, poetic lyrics: “First we find the answer, then we take the blame/We put on all the masks, then we play the game/Shaded pain/We throw off all the shackles and then we wear the chains/We find out who we are, then we lose our name/Shaded pain (2X).../How can we be forgiven if we don’t live our lives?” ‘Light’s Out’ is a blistering rocker that captures the emptiness and despair of a female soldier: “She’s got her books and all her pictures in a row/All her emails and the candles are burning low/All her loved ones don’t love her anymore/Lights out (3X)/Lights out in Baghdad”.
‘Never Gonna Come Back’ continues in the rock vein and includes the lyric: “Look what you’ve done to me”. ‘Forever’ is a song of great despondency: “How will I get to tomorrow?/Beg, borrow, and steal/How does this get out of my head?/Guns and blood.../Now I’m dead.../Gonna lose myself forever”. The last song ‘What is Love Fighting For’ has a punk influence. Lyrically it is akin to Bob Dylan’s ‘With God on Our Side’. Religion should never be used as a justification for war: “If God is love/What is love fighting for?/All the little children holding hands believe in love”.
This record offers a very realistic, angst driven look at an important issue many in our day and age deal with-PTSD. War ruins many people’s lives forever, no matter how just the cause. PTSD is a wonderful, well executed and produced, moving, alternative rock album. Fans of Tool, Skillet, Jane’s Addiction, and the 77’s should check this one out. I’m rating it 93%. For more info visit: www.hailmarystudios.com or connect with Michael Gerard Knott on Facebook.