Tuesday, November 17, 2015

With the Dead : ' s/t'

The rule of thumb seems to be that supergroups sound better on paper  than what the reality turns out to be. From the first song of With the Dead's self titled album this is not the case. Lee Dorian of Cathedral teams up with some of the guys from Electric Wizard to sludge out some oppressive fuzz dripped in darkness. The effects slathered on Dorian's voice are a good choice as it keeps this from sounding like Cathedral. Cathedral was one of the first bands that made doom hip. They dropped some of the melodrama that cloaked bands like Candlemass and Trouble and chunked it out in the 90s. Granted Lee Dorian's time in Napalm Death didn't diminish this. They are not just a doom band, not that being a doom band is a bad thing, but they hit "the Cross" with too pummeling attack to not be sludge. With this album the first song hit me pretty hard so the rest of the album has the bar set pretty high . The second song tries to over power you with the rumble you have already been hit with so you are braced for the blow. The creepy sample keep going to darken the shadows of their sound.

They take on a more Sabbath like boogie on "Nephthys"  and Dorian's voice settles into more of what you might expect from him.  The build it up into a commanding chant. These guys are all about the power, leaving a little room for the more subtle melody of the solos to warble over their pound. "Living With the Dead" has a weighty chug that offers a call and response to a creepier riff. The vocals chant the song title over and over, but it self works. In what might be the verses the vocals just add a tormented distant howl, before the song breaks down at the mid way point into something way more melodic than you expected after the dirty overdrive you have been battered with.

Dorian's more effected vocals helps to give " I am Your Virus" more form and function against the dense throb the song drags you into. This one has more of a doom cadence to it's gloom laden cloud of distortion. The album ends with the more formless drone of "Screams From My Own Grave". Not as tightly driven in it's thunder as the rest of the album, this one rings out into murky waters. For their first outing they have all the power to prove themselves, the last song kinda killed the momentum for me , but over all they are solid and look forward to hearing more from this project I'll round it up to an 8.5.

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