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With the Dead – With The Dead

Label: Rise Above Records
Format: CD download
Released: 2015
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 8/ 10


With the Dead's first album is so doomy, I'm afraid to play it around my house, for fear of small children or animals becoming possessed. The necrophile trio consists of guitarist/bassist Tim Bagshaw and drummer Mark Greening of Electric Wizard, fronted by Lee Dorrian, founding member of Napalm Death and Cathedral. They've joined forces to shovel these six long-ish songs of dark matter from the cosmic grave. Let's hope this album isn't a one-off project, and that they'll continue digging in the future. This union has the potential to be every bit as historic for Metal as Dorrian's previous two outfits.

 

Cathedral shuttered their enormous doors in 2013, but their sound has found new life - - or undeath, if you will - - in the black, muddy soil of With The Dead, thanks mainly to Dorrian's distinctive style. And where some of their genre contemporaries are guilty of wading too deep into the murk, WTD mostly avoid sinking in and getting stuck. The album closer, ‘Screams From My Own Grave’, (great song title) is probably the only track that devolves into a classic Doom Metal trudge. The rest roll smoothly between mid-and slow- tempos, while surfing tidal waves of guitar noise and dark riffs. Sure, there are swamps and muddy patches here, but there's also gravel to keep the wheels spinning. It's the jarring changes that really work best on this album, either from one massive obsidian chord into another or for a speed shift. ‘The Cross’ does this best, with the change punctuated by a screamed "Fuck you!" from Dorrian. ‘The Cross’ and ‘Living With the Dead’ are the strongest tune of the six, by the way.

No back-handed compliment or diss of the sub-genre intended, With The Dead's music is Doom for Metal fans without an affinity for Doom Metal. They keep the un-complex songs interesting while going light on the difficulty. For all their digging, the rewards of the album are not buried too deep. The overall tone stays confined to gloom and hopelessness in a sonic joy vacuum, but it's not a chore to get through.. My recommendation is a no-brainer for fans of Doom Metal. Check this out as soon as you can. For all other Metal fans: I still recommend you give it a listen. Walk a few steps of desiccated earth With The Dead. Just be cautious playing the tracks around lifeforms susceptible to spiritual possession.

 
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