The 7-inch is a tricky format to make a really good record with. Due to its brevity, it often feels more like a showcase of the artist's material than a well-rounded record. But as far as the format goes, Final Fight and Life Long Tragedy's split on Deathwish records is one of the best "showcases" ever put to tape. Each side shows the pinnacle of each band's recorded output to date.
The first side by Final Fight kicks off with T.S., a solid but comparitively unimpressive cut that feels like a little bit of a false start, but all is forgiven when Rage kicks in. An anthem by any standards, it is undisputably the finest song in Final Fight's discography and one of the most perfect examples of melodic hardcore ever written. The song is a soaring and impassioned tribute to "all the people swallowed whole and ignored/tagged 'scary' by precious daddy's girls/left in fields to crack in the sun" and an angry attack on the mindless drunken culture of "disconnect and privelige" that is so easy to lose yourself in. As a song it holds a lot of meaning for me as it soundtracked a few months when it more or less exactly summed up my feelings about what was happening around me and, in a way, that sense of connection was comforting.
The Life Long Tragedy side shows no let-up in quality, demonstrating a masterful prowess both lyrically and musically. The two songs here easily rival anything that Modern Life Is War has done in terms of passion and quality and are painfully relatable for anyone who has ever experienced disappointment, depression or disillusionment. The lyrics in 'Sweet Innocence' ("And true love was just a marketed ploy/So guys could hit their lines and girls could grab their boys/Sweet innocence with loser's luck/I know you think you're giving love but you're just getting fucked") are incredibly bitter but ring so true that they hit you like a freight train. Despite the undisputably pessimistic outlook, some rays of light still show through, especially the emphasis on how important friends are amidst all the doom and gloom. These songs have helped me through a lot and I hope that perhaps through this they might at some point hold a similar meaning for others, too.
Shivering with you, we shoot our breath into the cold
We see the shine from a town that sucked the life straight from the desperate souls
And out in the distance are silhouettes from the headlights
That brighten up our faces and the tears inside our tired eyes
And I finally realized that no matter where we go
We'll never truly find ourselves if we only ever look alone
We drank too much and here's to us
'Cause we succeeded in forgetting that we were still alive
And I lost myself along the way, still got ambitions
Because hope is the one thing that keeps me going in the worst of times
I know I never claimed to have a heart of gold
I haven't been myself lately and I felt so strong a year ago
Silent cries for help echo through late nights and empty streets
And I'd suffer outloud but no one would care enough to be listening
Proving to our heads that our hearts have reasons to still beat
Is sometimes harder than it seems, so beat some life back into me
But on nights like this say "fuck the world" and pass the drink
We'll only be alive one time 'til we rot in hell for eternity
And when I'm burning I don't want to fucking regret anything
So if life's a joke then show your teeth and raise your glass and sin with me
-Life Long Tragedy; Soul Search Party