It’s been a while since I’ve put a Polish band on the radar, and Dopelord, who hail from about 20 minutes outside Gdansk, fit the bill nicely, in both their locale and their riffs, which on their self-released Magick Rites debut are varyingly derived from Electric Wizard (see “Unihorn”) and Sleep (see “Magick Holocaust”). Not a bad combination to work from, by any stretch, and yeah, Dopelord are a little paint-by-numbers with it — one is left wondering what kind of ghost cargo the bong might actually be carrying — but the stuff is fun anyway and they absolutely nail the vocal mix on Magick Rites, so they’re immediately off to a better start than most bands.
By “nail,” I (obviously) mean keep the vocals low. I get why you want to have vocals in the band, but seriously, unless you’re actually able to use your voice as an instrument, get thee behind the riffs. Maybe Dopelord are just putting Miodek‘s singing behind their wall of distortion because that’s how Jus Oborn did it on Witchcult Today, but it fucking works, and though it’s a recent model, I can certainly think of worse ones to follow for a band that just got together in 2010 and are still pretty clearly working out what they want to do sonically. Still, as they are, and even with songs like “The Pentagram” and Magick Rites highlight “Lucifer’s Son,” I’d still say Dopelord wind up more on the stoner side than the occult side of Electric Wizard‘s influence, as the recording doesn’t have that same kind of impenetrable cloud of smoke. Not that there’s no cloud at all, just that you can still hear the songs through it — which I guess is the chief difference between “Rise! Undead!” and “Torquemada ’71.”
I thought it was decent stuff and I continue to enjoy watching the Polish stoner/doom scene develop with new acts like these, so a smile and nod to Dopelord (not to be confused with Dopethrone or Dopefight) with hopes they keep it up. They’re on Thee Facebooks here, and here’s Magick Rites courtesy of their Bandcamp: