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With the Dead - Love From With the Dead

Format: Download
Released: 2017
Label: Rise Above Records
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 9/10

Everyone’s favorite misanthropes are back for With the Dead’s surprise sophomore record, “Love From With the Dead,” which only doubles down on the gloom of their self-titled previous album. Doom is too cheery a word to describe their sound. Relentless, nihilistic despair draped in cobwebbed shrouds of despondency - - that more aptly scratches the surface.


This records feels like a sequel to the first “With the Dead” release, continuing the murky distortion and Lee Dorrian’s tuneless, disgust-laden vocal shouts over slow-tempo dirges, digging it down to an even deeper level. With these two albums, they have constructed something horrifying and marvelous to behold; the pure distillation of abject horror is as pure as is possible. Using simple tools, I’d dare say that With the Dead have approached something like high art here, like a shapeless, dread-inducing sculpture of grave dirt and misery.
The experience can be like a reading of “Naked Lunch;” the bleak horror is too much for the audience to consume in large segments, all at once. You almost need to digest it in gulps, to allow breaks to come up for air, out of the choking depths. Their motif is expressed perfectly in the refrain of “Anemia,” which is probably the best song on “Love From With the Dead:” “No love, no joy, no hope, no life.” The reach the culmination of their sound in the 17-minute closing track, “CV1,” which degenerates into a fugue of noise by the end.
I can recommend this with a number of caveats. If you enjoy Doom, and can handle music that plummets to the lowest depths of hopelessness, then pick this up as a companion to their slightly more accessible first record. Think Conan (the band, not the Cimmerian) or Dorrian’s old band, Cathedral. If your favorite song is “Walkin’ On Sunshine,” then you should stay away.
A conventional review for such a work is tricky. I greatly admire what Lee Dorrian and crew have accomplished here, but it’s difficult stuff, that withdraws an emotional toll from the listener. It’s the soundtrack to Tyler Durden’s mind, without the techno. It’s the musical equivalent of a Dementor’s Kiss (“I felt weird,” said Ron. . . “Like I’d never be cheerful again.”)
I can’t imagine where With the Dead can go with this next - - but I hope - - yes, hope - - there will be more.


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