On its 2000 debut album, A Life Once Lost played frenzied dervishes, with squiggly technical riffs and thrashy drumbeats overshadowing Robert Meadows' underenunciated growls. Since then, the Philadelphia group has drastically altered its musical physique, moving from pummeling the speed bag to building brawn through powerlifting. September's Iron Gag reinvents the band as circus strongman, every track tracing a hammer's deliberate arc through its devastating impact. Meadows barks with Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo's caveman confidence, emphasizing every syllable of phrases such as you can't destroy me. Guitarists Robert Carpenter and Douglas Sabolick have steadied their pace, collaborating on slow-winding harmonies, monster Southern-blues grooves and stuttering breakdowns. A Life Once Lost's sets aren't as exhilaratingly spastic as they once were, but the songs are a whole lot heavier.