Over the weekend I was spinning the new Ghost album and got to thinking as to why there’s been a backlash against the band. It’s not like they’re in Coke commercials or are doing things that should cause metal fans to lash out against them. They made a catchy record that’s fun to hear, and isn’t that the same things on which artists like Dio and Iron Maiden staked their legend?
I think it boils down to resentment and some sort of silly genre ownership in fans and not on actually taking in the music for the fun that it is. While they sound nothing like Ghost (OK, B.C.) at all, I get the same vibe listening to “Summon the Faithless,” the full-length debut from Portland’s Lord Dying. The guitars are raucous, the metal is heavy, the songs are catchy, and it is metal through and through. To me it’s impossible to hear this record without realizing the fun you’re having following along, and the band’s sludgy, High on Fire-friendly bashing might even make smile those amongst us who haven’t become judgmental pricks who need to be above everything.
Lord Dying have been roaming the earth since 2010, and they’ve offered up a demo and a tour EP before getting things together for what comprises the eight-track, nearly 40-minute “Summon.” The album is perfectly portioned, as you get enough molten riffs and violence to satisfy your primal urges, but they know when to get out and leave you wanting more. That’s a trick more metal bands could stand to learn, as well as labels that think they need to stuff 16 songs into a package for whatever reason. It’s sort of the early Slayer rule. Know when enough’s enough, and Lord Dying have a stranglehold on that idea.
The band’s members have been kicking around in other groups such as Black Elks, Portals (not the shrouded Australians), and Damn Your Eyes before pulling together to form Lord Dying, and these first name-fearing warriors have a tight, rupturing sound made possible by guitarist/vocalist E. Olson, bassist D. Capuano, drummer/vocalist J. Reid, and guitarist C. Evans. The cover of their record reminds me of a weird, psychedelic takeoff on Death’s “Leprosy,” though the music inside is entirely different, pummeling just as hard, but giving you doses of sludge, thrash, and doom that’ll stick to your ribs and leave you nice and full.
“In a Frightful State of Gnawed Dismemberment” roars out of the gate with muddy guitar work, screamy howls, molten heaviness, and shouts of, “You’ll find no peace you can salvage!” That rolls into the title track (eh, sort of … it’s “Summoning,” not “Sumon”) that’s built on high-powered guitar riffs, metallic chugging, and yowling shouts that should wake you up in no time in the event you somehow aren’t yet at full attention. Hey, I don’t know how much sleep you got last night. “Greed Is Your Horse” reminds me of Mastodon’s early days, when they were a burly killing machine, and the charging riffs and angrier vocals feel downright evil at times. “Descend Into External” is proggier when it kicks off and leads its way toward some really creative guitar work, and as the track progresses, the band seems like it’s trying to up the ante.
“Dreams and Mercy” has more chugging guitar work, leaning deeper into thrash territory, and the vocals are aggressively in your face. The middle of the song lets Reid take the spotlight behind the kit as his work gets to move up front and cause some chaos. “Perverse Osmosis” not only is a weirdly title song, it also features some of the most bizarre music on the record, with slurry, vicious guitar work and howled warnings of, “You’re buried alive!” “Water Under a Burning Bridge” is thick and volcanic, spitting smoke and lava, and the pace is calculated and punishing. Closer “What Is Not … Is” boils and swirls, with powerful riffs, crushing drums, and a huge dose of penetrating drone that gives the record a cosmic, intergalactic finish.
Lord Dying are a hell of a lot of fun for the 40 minutes they stick around, and they inject the overcrowded sludge scene with a needed burst of adrenaline. “Summon the Faithless” is a promising start for this band, and as they add miles of travel and more experience, they should only get deadlier. You can take that as a warning or a promise that their best may be yet to come.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/LordDying
To buy the album, go here: http://www.relapse.com/store.html
For more on the label, go here: http://www.relapse.com/