For five years straight, A Life Once Lost were moving as an integral cog in the metal machine, touring 10 months out of the year and only taking breaks to write and record new albums. But after guitarist Doug Sabolick suffered through a bike accident, being hit by a car, the band was forced to slow down. And even after their axeman recovered, the tech-metal outfit decided to embrace the time off -- purging their sound and reexamining how the band works.

"Taking that time away from the band and just allowing everyone to retouch with their families and such made us all grow up, and take that step back look at this band from an outsiders point of view," frontman Robert Meadows told Noisecreep.

Always known for his uncontrollable performances -- oftentimes smashing the microphone into his head until blood covered his face -- Meadows has been taking the down time to see how far his voice can go. "I'm trying to push myself harder," he added, noting that he had recently gone back to not only taking vocal lessons but was teaching them himself. "I feel like I'm working on making more of a presence -- not that I haven't made a presence on prior records, but I feel that this is a make or break record for us."

Known for embracing the schizophrenic tempo styling of bands like Meshuggah (a style now called djent), the band took flack for it on their 2003 album 'Hunter.' But times have changed, and djent is in full force as bands like Animals as Leaders continue to gain acceptance.

"From my point of view, just watching the scene evolve and seeing things unfold and change, build and grow ... you're just watching everything happen, and you're not as much a part of it as you once were," the frontman confessed the frustration of being an onlooker. "Pulling yourself away and watching everyone pass you is kind of like 'What the f---?'"

In the last two years, the band has taken their time, slowly progressing on new material. "We're making [the album] a more monstrous thing than its been in the past. I feel like when this record drops it's gonna floor people. It's a really incredible thing and I'm really happy with it."

Of course, taking the time to write and record without a deadline made it easier for the quintet to see what they don't want to be. "A lot of bands are watered down and play it safe so they can make it big, in a way. Maybe that's not true. If it is, then f--- it, I'm wrong. The way I view it now a lot of bands are just trying to get those video game soundtrack things and get on these bigger tours and be merch monsters. That's not really a big concern for us anymore."

Meadows pointed to the band's newest demo (streaming online) as a statement. "It's talking out and being like 'Listen, we might have been gone for four years, but you can't forget what we've done.'"

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