Lord Post Two New Videos; Still Breaking Up

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 1st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

lord

Yup, Lord are still breaking up. As they announced earlier in July, their last show is this coming Saturday in Baltimore. I’ve been a fan for a while, and I’ll be honest, their impending demise kind of has me down. Makes me feel old, and not in that “I found another gray beard hair and am slowly becoming Gandalf the White” kind way. In the exhausted kind of way, where every exhale seems to be a sigh. I know it has nothing to do with me, their calling it a day, but I’ve been a fan for a long time and I always thought they were something special. They’ve never really gotten their due. And unless they have one of those band-breaks-up-and-gets-huge things happening, that due probably won’t ever come. It’s a bummer.

As I said before, Lord go out on their high-watermark achievement in their new album, Desperation Finds Hunger in All Men (review here), which is officially released Aug. 24. Strange to think of a record that’s so vital as being posthumous, but there it is. True to their word, they’re continuing to support the collection despite intentions to disband, and they have two new videos up. The first is a regular-style performance clip, well shot, for “Whispering Snakes,” and the second is live footage for “La Fleur du Cobalt.” Both songs are, of course, from Desperation Finds Hunger in All Men, and I think each one showcases a different side of the energy that made Lord have such an impact on the listener.

I don’t for one second imagine this will be the last time I post about them, but it’ll probably be the last time before this Saturday, so I’ll just note one more time that indeed, Lord will be missed.

Videos follow here, as well as some comment from the band via the PR wire about the live track.

Please enjoy:

Lord, “Whispering Snakes” official video

Lord, “La Fleur du Cobalt” Live in Falls Church, VA

The band commented “La Fleur Du Cobalt” is one my favorite songs from the album to play live. In our recent sets I’ve explained the meaning behind the song and I have sensed the atmosphere in the room change as a result. At this specific performance, particularly the drum altro made it a crowd favorite and a few people wept. This song is about child enslavement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), about the unbelievable conditions they are forced to work in at constant risk of permanent injury and fatality.

The children are often stolen from their families and are forced to mine the minerals we use in our smart cars, our cell phones, our laptops, our jewelry, and so on and so on. Companies that source minerals from this region have little to no accountability for their actions and often mask their origination. My hope lyrically is to bring awareness to these atrocious business practices and with enough awareness effect a change in accountability and the lives of the children and families in this region. One life changed would make it all worthwhile. Footage shot at our final show with the album line-up, VFW Hall, Falls Church, VA.”

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Lord Announce Breakup and Confirm Final Shows

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Well that’s a fucking bummer. And kind of unexpected, to be perfectly honest. Long-ish running Virginian sludge-thrash chaosbringers Lord have announced they’re calling it a day. Their breakup, effective Aug. 4 when they play their final show in Baltimore, comes just weeks ahead of the slated Aug. 24 release for their new album, Desperation Finds Hunger in All Men (review here), which for my money is their best record to-date — a sprawling 66-minutes of carbonized riffing and intense emotional and sonic weight, it seemed if nothing else to be the work of a band who still had a lot to say. Apparently it was their way of laying it all out on the table one last time.

Over the course of their 11 years, Lord went through copious lineup changes. Watching a changing scene around them that went from producing the likes of VOG and Ol’ Scratch to the likes of Foehammer, I wouldn’t exactly call Lord a steady presence — it could be years between releases, and each one seemed to feature different players around guitarist Will Rivera — but they were nonetheless reliable when it came to producing work of individualized assault, sometimes an extreme vision of Southern metal, other times a visceral grind, other times still a style unto themselves.

It’s been more than half a decade since I saw them live, and I won’t get to catch either of their last shows — July 28 in West Virginia, Aug. 4 in Baltimore, Maryland — so I’ll just say I’m sorry to see them go. No matter who was involved with a given outing, Lord never failed to put everything they had — mind, body, soul — into what they did, and for that alone, never mind the actual quality of their output, they’ll be deeply missed.

Rivera talks about the breakup in the thee-social-medias post below, and says no reunion, but you never really know, especially with a band who made a habit of being so unpredictable. In the meantime, he’s got a new album coming with his solo-project Absent Sky reportedly this Fall on Heavy Hound Records, so one will keep an eye out for that.

But yeah, thanks Lord. You guys were a way, way better band than people knew.

Here’s that post:

lord

After 13 years,LORD will be playing its final show on Aug. 4th in Baltimore. We have decided to disband in the wake of my decision to leave the band and the others not feeling comfortable with the idea on continuing under the same name without the sole remaining original member and co-founder.

My decision to leave is something that I’ve been wrestling with for at least 6 months now and it finally became clear to me when a series of transitional events happened in my life that have refocused my priorities and made me wanna take advantage of the time and opportunities that have come my way. I feel that what we’ve accomplished on our final release, Desperation Finds Hunger In All Men, is the culmination of years of hard work and an excellent way to cap off LORD’s legacy.

I’ve never been one to go through the motions and always give a 100% into anything I’m involved in but I feel that my heart is no longer in it and that this creative collaboration has run its course. I know there will be some who will be disappointed and may not understand why I’d choose to leave now but I have to do what is right for me and what brings me joy.

I wanna take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support, it means the world to me that anyone would care. I also wanna thank all members of LORD, former and current, for their time and effort: Steven Kerchner, Todd Wuehrmann, Chris Dugay, Tommy Emanuel, Tony Petrocelly, Stephen Sullivan, Rob Gouldman, Andy Murray, Mike Meeks, Jesse Hottle and Helena Goldberg. The other members will be moving on to other projects and I will be focusing on Absent Sky, Hopekiller and a few other projects that are currently in the works.

Make sure to come out to our final shows on July 28th in Martinsburg, WVa and Aug. 4th in Baltimore. There won’t be any reunion shows so if you have had any intention in catching this band, it’s your last chance! Keep an eye out for Desperation Finds Hunger In All Men on Aug 24th as we’ll continue promoting the album on Facebook, Instagram and Bandcamp. Cheers and love to you all, thanks for your time… Will

Lord final lineup:
Steven F. Kerchner II – Vocals, Noise, Percussion
Will Rivera – Guitar
Todd Wuehrmann – Guitar
Chris Dugay – Bass
Tony Petrocelly – Drums

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Review & Track Premiere: Lord, Desperation Finds Hunger in All Men

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on June 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Lord Desperation Finds Hunger in all Men

[Click play above to stream ‘Mutilation Rites’ from Lord’s Desperation Finds Hunger in All Men. Album is out Aug. 24 via Heavy Hound Records.]

As though in a direct effort to feed the gluttons for punishment, Southern sludge metal extremists Lord return with their third album in three years. Issued as their fifth full-length overall through longtime outlet Heavy Hound Records, the 10-track Desperation Finds Hunger in all Men is a beast unto itself within the Lord catalog. While I don’t know if there’s a vinyl release planned, it’s probably fair to call it a double-album anyway, since at 66 minutes it’s more than twice as long as the Fredricksburg, Virginia, outfit’s previous outing, last year’s Blacklisted (review here). I don’t want to harp on it, since ultimately the length of the release is more a symptom of Lord‘s deeply varied and expansive stylistic expression, rather than a cause of it. That is, they’re writing longer songs because the songs have gotten longer, not because they sat down and wanted to write longer songs. But it’s a striking shift after the last record, and nothing they’ve done to-date, whether it was 2016’s Awake (review here), 2011’s Chief (review here), 2007’s Built Lord Tough or anything else along the way, has touched that kind of length.

Brief though it was, Blacklisted was especially striking in the maturity and the sense of consciousness it brought to Lord‘s often chaotic approach, blending elements of thrash, sludge, doom, death metal, noise, Southern metal, etc., as it does. Without giving up their sense of abrasion or brutal edge, Lord were nonetheless able to wield their sound as a weapon — I’ve been back and forth in my head calling that weapon sharp or bludgeoning, but the truth is it can be either depending on the track — and to shape their material into something that built on what they’d done before and still held that rawness at its core. Part of that, of course, came down to the vocals of Steven “Frank Palkoski” Kerchner, whose soul shines through in both his harshest screams on opener “No Sunrise on the Third,” the growls and shouts of “At First I Didn’t Believe It” and the utterly vicious “Have a Look for Yourself” and in the cleaner singing on “Whispering Snakes,” “Scorched” and the 12-minute experimentalist closer “This Lonesome Linger,” which pulls back the distortion on Chris Dugay‘s bass and Willy Rivera and Todd Weurhmann‘s guitars and the fury in Tony Petrocelly‘s drumming to finish semi-acoustic despite an underlying tension as a bass drum thuds to signify the shift into the track’s near-operatic — yup — midsection, marked out by layers of guest vocals accompanying Kerchner, who also provides the percussion. Like the album as a whole, it is not a minor undertaking.

Nor is it meant to be. Engineered by Petrocelly — who’s since left the band only to be replaced by Jesse Hottle, who’s also left and been replaced for shows by, wait, Petrocelly, as well as Tommy Emanuel, while the band looks for a permanent drummer; so it goes — Desperation Finds Hunger in All Men is easily the strongest production Lord have ever had. Whether it’s the noise at the start of the tracks, the heft that emerges in 10-minute side-A-or-LP-1 finale “La Fleur du Cobalt” or the arrangement of vocals atop the rolling lumber of the later “Mutilation Rites,” Lord‘s aural assault has never seemed more thoughtful than it does here, and the sound is crisp and clear in “Nature Knows No Kings” despite the wash of noise that comprises so much of the song, and rather than work against the band’s extremity, it only enhances it, bringing it into focus in much the same way the songwriting seems to have grown in its purposefulness. Lyrical themes of oppression show up throughout, though a decent amount of the vocals — the growls especially so — are largely indecipherable, but what comes through is delivered with sincerity and rather than a celebration of brutality as so much of extreme metal can be, Lord bring a critical eye and an examination both thoughtful and inward as well as outward.

lord

To wit, the one-minute interlude that follows “La Fleur du Cobalt,” simply dubbed “August 11, 2017,” arguably the most striking piece on the record. With no instruments, it is simply an insect-song-backed succession of voices describing a person’s journey through suicidal depression and out the other side. In all seriousness, when it ended with the line “Today started out well,” I damn near wept. It gives way immediately to the stomp and metallic riffing of “Whispering Snakes,” but the effect in terms of mood-setting remains, and holds firm even as the second half of Desperation Finds Hunger in All Men moves into the nine-plus-minute “Mutilation Rites” and the penultimate “Have a Look for Yourself,” which bashes its count-in and from there unleashes a three-minute torrent of trashing intensity, galloping drums beneath circle-headbang riffs, growls and gang-shouts, and an air-tight execution that, even when it releases the tension it’s built, still seems to be grasping the listener by the throat. This, like the rest of the record surrounding and like “This Lonesome Linger” afterward, is done willfully.

I’ll cop to being a Lord fan. Happily. And while I might quibble with the facts of the title “Nature Knows No Kings” — true there’s no royal hierarchy specifically, but dominance is found in varying forms everywhere in nature whether it’s the head of a pack, an invasive plant species or one animal eating another; this is not an intrinsic justification for capitalist or governmental oppression; don’t get me wrong: no gods, no masters — I acknowledge that I hear Desperation Finds Hunger in All Men with a limited-at-best level of impartiality. Even granted that I think it’s a fair observation to say this is simultaneously Lord‘s broadest-ranging and most cohesive achievement yet, and especially as the third offering since Awake seemed to truly signal a new era for the band — their preceding EP, 2014’s Alive in Golgotha (review here), might be considered a prelude — it brings their attack to another level of refinement.

It would be easy to listen to Desperation Finds Hunger in All Men and celebrate it for its extremity, for the righteousness of its aggression. And I’m not arguing against that. What shouldn’t be lost in that experience is an appreciation for the intent behind that extremity, because that’s what truly signifies how far Lord have come and their continuing drive to progress as a group. There’s always going to be chaos in their heart. It’s how they hone it and what they craft from it that makes them such a special band.

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Lord Stream Alive in Golgotha EP in Full

Posted in audiObelisk on September 5th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

lord

I always wanted to be in Lord. Since the days of their 2006 demo, Under the Sign of the Maker’s Mark, the Fredericksburg, Virginia, outfit has been a raging tumult of sludge extremity. Born of the same scene that gave us Valkyrie, VOG, Durga TempleOl’ ScratchAncient Astronaught and any number of other underrated acts outside the sphere of Richmond’s varied metals and Maryland’s doom yet somehow in line with both, Lord have proved over the years to be the most chaotic, the most turbulent of the pack. On the rare occasion one might see them live, they’re staggering in their intensity, and the sheer fact that they manage to hold it together somehow makes the experience all the more visceral.

The volatility has a price, however. Lord released a full-length debut in 2006’s Built Lord Tough (a play on Ford’s logo appeared on the cover), and that was it until 2011’s riotous Chief (review here), which brought a new lineup and a take more indebted to Southern metal than they had been five years earlier, but was still plenty maddening, vocalist Steven Kerchner adding experimental abrasion by manipulating his screams through a range of effects. Three years after ChiefLord return with yet another new lineup — you can see why I thought I might’ve had a shot at being in the band — and a brandlord alive in golgotha new four-song EP, Alive in Golgotha, recorded by Vince Burke (Beaten back to Pure/Hail!Hornet) at his own Sniper Studios.

Comprised here of Kerchner, guitarist/vocalist Will Rivera and drummer/bassist Stephen Sullivan — the lineup has already changed again to the four-piece pictured above; Rivera, Kerchner, bassist Chris Dugay (Reticle) and drummer Kevin “Skip” Marrimow (Ol’ Scratch, Palkoski) — Lord are no less a beast than they’ve ever been, the opening cut “We Own the Storms” setting a quick reaffirmation that time has not dulled the band’s edge or tamed their ferocity. Fast, aggressive, almost punk in its rawness, “We Own the Storms” leads to the more decidedly Southern “What You May Call the Devil is Amongst Us,” reminiscent of the last album’s grooving take. “With Reaching Hooves” jumps back and forth between grinding verses and a sludgy chorus, giving a tension/release vibe before moving into a heavy rock shuffle masterfully balanced in Burke‘s mix, and the closing semi-title-track, “Golgotha,” offers the EP’s most lethal groove of the bunch and speaks to the realization of the potential that’s been in Lord‘s chemical imbalance all along.

Lord will reportedly be hitting the studio again next month to record for a split EP with Black Blizzard, so maybe Alive in Golgotha will mark a turning point for the band in terms of activity. If history has shown anything with these guys, though, it’s that you never really know what’s coming next. I’ll never get to be in the band — Kerchner‘s a better screamer than I ever was anyway — but I’m thrilled to host a full stream of Alive in Golgotha ahead of the release on Heavy Hound Records. Please find it below, and enjoy:

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

To keep up with Lord and get more info on Alive in Golgotha, as well as to score a copy, check the links.

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Lord, Chief: Dreams of the Preacherman Lost in Space

Posted in Reviews on September 12th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

Reformed following a few years’ quiet around a 50 percent new lineup in which guitarist Willy “Will-Kill” Rivera and drummer Steven “Sven” Sullivan are the sole remaining original members, Virginian crushers Lord return for their first full-length outing since 2006/2007’s Built Lord Tough. The new album, called Chief, finds release through the band-affiliated Heavy Hound Records, and sees Lord inject a forward-thinking, vaguely-spiritual bend to their already-formidable sludge. Chief is comprised of eight cuts that play out in 38 minutes, and is bound to surprise both those who never heard Lord’s prior incarnations and those who did with its complexity of arrangements and melodic vocal interplay between newcomers Steven “Kerch” Kerchner (aka Frank Palkoski of Palkoski, also drums for Ancient Astronaught and ex-VOG and Ol’ Scratch vocals) and bassist Helena Goldberg (also of Akris, formerly of New York duo Aquila). The pair play a huge role in defining Lord’s sound as it exists on Chief, and with the bulk of the album recorded by Beaten Back to Pure guitarist Vince Burke at his own Sniper Studios in North Carolina, there’s enough dirt thrown on these tracks to build a mountain.

That actually holds the record back at points – some of the roughness in the production feels like it’s coming at the expense of Rivera’s guitar on the drum-heavy “Goliath” – but nonetheless sets Lord in line with a long tradition of Southern sludge. Chief gets underway with “Medic,” which proves a more than suitable introduction to what Kerchner and Goldberg have to offer vocally, the somewhat Anselmoan of the former meeting with Goldberg’s obviously higher register croon and relying equally if not more on abrasive screams noisily manipulated to endurance-testing effect on the later “Break of Day.” “Medic,” in contrast, doesn’t veer into the progressive or experimental, but listening to it, it sounds like a generational shift in sludge, Rivera adding vocals as well to Kerchner and Goldberg’s layered onslaught and the structure of the song proving more complex than the standard, punk-informed verses/choruses of first-gen outfits like EyeHateGod and, to some extent, Weedeater. The groove, fortunately, remains, and “Medic” puts it to good use, setting up the more ethereal “S&M” (it stands for “Sun and Moon”) as one of Chief’s biggest surprises.

Once introduced in “S&M,” the lines, “Tell me your master plan/So I can understand/What lives inside of me/Sun, moon, energy,” and  “How am I ‘sposed to breathe/When I’m not all of me/You ask someone to lead/When you are your own chief” become a thematic refrain to which Lord return later on Chief’s most melodic and brooding tracks, “The Connection” and “Lady of the Harvest Moon,” both of which were recorded separately from the rest of the tracks, and which sound it in Sullivan’s drums and elsewhere. In that way, “S&M” becomes a central part of Chief, and the 11-minute runtime – some five and a half minutes longer than the next closest cut – backs that up. The song rests in its movements, but never loses sight of its base, Kerchner’s noises cutting through the mix in a way that makes them sound as though they were added later, and Rivera managing to squeeze in overlapping solos after the halfway point of the song. The lyric, “Sun and the moon’s got a master plan,” is repeated multiple times toward the end of the chaos, and it’s about as close as Lord get anywhere on the album to being catchy of fodder for any kind of sing-along. The dynamics between sludgy and melodic that one can measure elsewhere on Chief between songs like “Goliath” and the piano-led “Lady of the Harvest Moon” play out in close proximity at the end of “S&M,” the madness of the apex giving way to a more wistful finale, that in turn devolves into static noise.

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It’s Cowbells, Cauldrons and Cleavage at Krug’s

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 18th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

A couple years back, I was fortunate enough to play the Cleavage of Doom benefit for Evil Fanny at Krug’s Place in Maryland. It was one of the best times I’ve ever had at a show, and Fanny herself, basically the woman single-handedly responsible for making the current Krug’s scene as strong as it is around bands like Earthride, Valkyrie, Lord, Ol’ Scratch (when they were together), etc., was so cool that her good-naturedness was almost enough to make my villainous heart break.

I won’t be able to make it down there myself, owing to obligations elsewhere on Oct. 30, but if you’re anywhere near Maryland or even if you’re not and you’re free that night, you should definitely don a silly costume, head on down to support one of doom’s own at Krug’s and see a lineup of killer bands. Behold the poster below, drawn by the masterful hand of $killit:

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Lord and Fire Faithful Want You to Believe

Posted in Reviews on June 24th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Born of the same fertile sub-Mason Dixon underground that’s previously given rise to acts like Ol’ Scratch, Valkyrie, Vog and others you might see opening any given weekend for Weedeater or Earthride at Krug’s Place in Frederick, Maryland – essentially the home of doom on the Eastern Seaboard – Virginia’s Fire Faithful and the recently reinvigorated Lord join forces on the self-released Refuge for the Recluse split. These and bands from other locales like Caltrop, Backwoods Payback and OSSM have formed a network of post-Alabama Thunderpussy Southern metal, tinged to various degrees with stoner and doom elements, angry in different measures, but a cohesive scene nonetheless, so it’s not really a surprise that two acts would get together for a split. I’m pretty sure this isn’t the first time it’s happened.

Each band gets three songs to show off, and Fire Faithful (formerly known as Southern Vein) begin in force with “Company Loves Misery,” a doom ethic brought to life with tried and true shuffle riffage courtesy of guitarist Dave Marrs, thick bass from Shane Rippey, the smooth drum fills of Joss Sallade and the decidedly metallic vocals of Brandon Malone, who peppers his bottom-of-the-mouth melodic approach with occasional screams. There’s something downtrodden in his voice that sits well over the more midpaced “Now We’ve Made a Memory,” and when he says, “Let me help rest your worried soul,” it sounds genuine. The production on Fire Faithful’s half of Refuge for the Recluse turns out less than fortunate in terms of the drum sounds as compares to Lord, but the sullenness of “Fire Faithful” comes across anyway as the track’s heaviness ebbs and flows. Their three songs are a gradual decline in mood, like a drunken night that starts out partying and ends with your wife pulled over to the side of the highway so I can puke my guts out at three in the morning. I’ve said too much.

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