Ogre Reissue Dawn of the Proto-Man and Seven Hells

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 6th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

ogre

Minotauro Records, which also released Ogre‘s The Last Neanderthal (review here) in 2014, has overseen CD reissues for the Maine trio’s first two albums, 2003’s Dawn of the Proto-Man and 2006’s Seven Hells. Both come packaged in the style of the latest album, and Seven Hells has a bonus DVD included with two shows from Geno’s in their stomping ground of Portland, ME. Dawn of the Proto-Man includes a comic by drummer Will Broadbent and bonus tracks.

The perennially underrated Northern doomers originally put out their debut independently, while Seven Hells arrived through Japan’s Leaf Hound Records, and needless to say both have been out of print for some time. Minotauro has it like this:

ogre dawn of the proto-man seven hells

Ogre Update! Now available! The Last Neanderthal, Seven Hells, and Dawn of the Proto-Man!

CD Now Available at minotaurorecords.com!

All three CDs are packaged in deluxe Japanese-style mini LP packaging with tons of additional liner notes, pictures and expanded artwork, and custom OBI card.

“Dawn of the Proton-Man” has never-before-heard bonus tracks, and “Seven Hells” comes with a bonus DVD! Very limited. Get them while you can!

OGRE Seven Hells CD + DVD

Re-release with bonus DVD and expanded liner notes, containing two live shows from Portland’s (Maine) legendary Geno’s Rock Club. Mini LP gatefold Japanese style papersleeve packaging with custom OBI, poster. CD Track List: Dogmen (of Planet Earth), Soldier of Misfortune, The Gas, Woman on Fire, Review Your Choices, Sperm Whale, Flesh Feast

DVD: Live at Geno’s 2007 show: Dogmen (of Planet Earth), God of Iron, The River, Flesh Feast, Age of Ice, Mystic Lady

2006 show: Dogmen (of Planet Earth), Woman On Fire, The Gas, 78, Sperm Whale, Flesh Feast, Age of Ice

OGRE Dawn of the Proto-Man CD

Re-release with bonus tracks and expanded liner notes. Expanded artwork and original, never-before-seen Ogre comic strip by Ogre drummer Will Broadbent. Mini LP gatefold Japanese style papersleeve packaging with custom OBI, poster. Track List: Ogre, Colossus, 78, The Jaded Beast (out of the east, Invasion), Skeletonized, Suicide Ride, Black Death (i.de vermis mysteriis, ii.rats, lice, and history), The Jaded Beast (Bonus Track), Colonizer (Plague of the Planets)(Bonus Track), Black Death (Bonus Track)

https://www.facebook.com/Rockogre/
http://www.minotaurorecords.com/

Ogre, “Colossus”

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Young Hunter Begin Recording New Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 2nd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

young hunter amp

Oregon-by-way-of-Arizona outfit Young Hunter announced over the weekend that they have begun tracking their next full-length at Toadhouse Recording in Portland. At this point, not much more has been said than that as regards a title, tracks, or even who is in the band, which was a seven-piece when their debut, Stone Tools (discussed here), was released in 2012, prior to guitarist/vocalist Benjamin Blake relocating to the Pacific Northwest from the desert he’d previously called home.

The band’s last release was the three-song Embers at the Foot of Dark Mountain EP that arrived first on its own digitally late in 2013 and then as one of 2014’s best short releases in a limited split tape with Ohioan (review here), whose drone-folk experimentalism and Swansian bitterness complemented the emotional depth of sonic weight of Young Hunter‘s “Welcome to Nothing,” “Trail of Tears” and “Dreamer,” which built on the distorted desert impulses Stone Tools laid out while also sounding fuller and more assured, the three songs bleeding together as one longer, dynamic work, as smooth in its flow as it was ranging in its impact. Whether that material is an indication of where Young Hunter might go sonically on the upcoming full-length is unknown; that EP was a significant-enough shift from the prior full-length that it seems pointless to hazard a guess.

Those who’ve been fortunate enough to see them over the last few months in Portland might be better able to speculate. Young Hunter have been playing shows with increasing regularity taking time to put together the new band. Two dates in January found them alongside GalateaLamprey and Johanna Warren, and on Feb. 24 — presumably after the recording is done — they’re set to take the stage with Disenchanter as part of Portland’s “Heavy Tuesdays” series at Rotture. One assumes more will follow once the album, whatever it’s called and whenever it lands, comes out.

Hopefully more to come as they continue the process leading up to the release. Their statement, recounted in full below as posted on Jan. 31, is suitably minimal:

young-hunter-lava-lamp

Today, we begin recording our next album.

Young Hunter on Thee Facebooks

Young Hunter on Bandcamp

Young Hunter, Embers at the Foot of Dark Mountain (2014)

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Witch Mountain Welcome New Vocalist Kayla Dixon and Bassist Justin Brown

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 29th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

witch mountain

Several days ago, Portland, Oregon, doomers Witch Mountain posted the above image on their Facebook page as a way of teasing the fact that they are once again a complete four-piece. Today, the parties joining with founding guitarist Rob Wrong and drummer Nathan Carson have been officially announced as vocalist Kayla Dixon and bassist Justin Brown.

Formerly based in Ohio, Dixon comes to Witch Mountain via Cleveland metallers Demons Within. She steps into the vocalist role in place of Uta Plotkin, who over the course of Witch Mountain‘s three post-reactivationkayla dixon full-lengths on Profound Lore, 2011’s South of Salem (review here), 2012’s Cauldron of the Wild (review here) and last year’s Mobile of Angels (review here), became one of doom’s most recognizable voices, with a soulful, bluesy inflection that has already left an influential stamp on the genre. When Plotkin announced her departure from the band prior to their tour in Sept. with Nick Turner’s Hawkwind, it was a shock but only made the lyrics to Mobile of Angels tracks like “Can’t Settle,” “Your Corrupt Ways (Sour the Hymn)” and “The Shape Turth Takes” even more visceral.

In an interview here last fall, Carson speculated that it could be years before the right voice was found to fill the position. That the band was aware and mindful of the task before them serves as further endorsement of Dixon‘s ability and the potential for their continued progress as a group with her on board. Bassist Justin Brown enters the lineup having spent the last several years in the two-bass/no-guitar trio Lamprey, from whom a follow-up long-player to 2012’s The Burden of Beasts EP (review here) is expected witch mountainsometime this year, its coming heralded by a recent video for the track “Iron Awake” that was featured here.

Witch Mountain are slated to take part in an upcoming Black Sabbath tribute that will also feature Kylesa and Wo Fat, among others, though at this time it’s not clear when their contribution was recorded or who was involved. They have toured extensively in support of each of their three records since returning from a decade’s hiatus, and the first road test of the new lineup will be a run of shows alongside YOB following that outfit’s stint with Enslaved in March. With congratulations to Brown and Dixon on landing what can only be considered as enviable as a gig playing doom can get by playing in Witch Mountain, the tour dates follow here:

YOB + Witch Mountain
3/21 New York, NY @ Gramercy Theatre w/ Enslaved, YOB, Ecstatic Vision
3/22 Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer w/ Enslaved, YOB, Ecstatic Vision
3/25 Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter
3/26 Raleigh, NC @ King’s Barcade
3/27 Johnson City, TN @ The Hideaway
3/28 Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
3/29 Memphis, TN @ Hi-Tone
3/30 New Orleans, LA @ Siberia
3/31 Houston, TX @ Walter’s
4/01 Austin, TX @ Red 7
4/03 Albuquerque, NM @ Launch Pad
4/04 Tucson, AZ @ The Flycatcher
4/05 Los Angeles, CA @ Los Globos
4/07 San Francisco, CA @ Golden Bull
4/08 Sacramento, CA @ Press Club
4/10 Seattle, WA @ Victory
4/11 Portland, OR @ Star Theater

Witch Mountain on Thee Facebooks
Witch Mountain on Twitter
Profound Lore Records

Witch Mountain, Mobile of Angels (2014)

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Video Premiere: Serial Hawk, “Desolate” Live at Ceremony of Sludge 2014

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 28th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

serial hawk at ceremony of sludge

Seattle trio Serial Hawk have a new album coming soon. Last year, before releasing their Lying in Wait 7″ in the fall, the three-piece made the trip to Portland, Oregon, to take part in the Ceremony of Sludge festival, along with LampreyHoly GroveBlackwitch PuddingSiouxDisenchanter and others. Over the last couple months, parts of each act’s set have been premiered hereSerial Hawk played the first night of the fest, March 7, with LampreyTowers, and Beard of Bees at Club 21 in Portland, and the video was filmed by Cole Boggess and Justin Anderson with audio by Tim Burke.

The song is called “Desolate,” and it comes as a preview of what the new Serial Hawk LP holds in store in following up the 2014 single, 2012’s Buried in the Gray EP and the band’s first demo, released in 2011. Drummer Sean Bulkley, who was announced as the band’s drummer at the end of last Jan., does the honors in starting the song with a persistent tom rhythm that holds firm as the guitar and bass rumble to life. By 90 seconds in, a heavy foundation is established, and the rolling riffery that takes hold from there is both massive and open, guitarist Will Bassin topping the crash and distortion with raw shouts while bassist Adam Holbrook drives home a groove to which even the camera can’t seem to resist nodding.

A big slowdown brings about some choice feedback-laden deconstruction as Serial Hawk build the track up only to tear it apart again. Their appearance at Ceremony of Sludge was the first night of a West Coast tour that lasted two weeks (they did a full US tour in the Fall as well), and it seems pretty safe to say that run got off to a good start.

More on the new Serial Hawk album hopefully to come as we near the release. Enjoy “Desolate” in the meantime, with thanks to Justin Brown and Ceremony of Sludge:

Serial Hawk, “Desolate” Live at Ceremony of Sludge 2014 in Portland, OR

Serial Hawk on Thee Facebooks

Serial Hawk on Twitter

Serial Hawk on Instagram

Serial Hawk on Bandcamp

Ceremony of Sludge on Thee Facebooks

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Process Black Issues First Demo

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 22nd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

process black

Any new endeavor from Aaron Edge is welcome by me. The many-banded guitarist — RoarethiamthethornRote Hexe, etc. — was last heard from in 2013 when he joined forces with YOB‘s Mike Scheidt and his former Brothers of the Sonic Cloth bandmate Tad Doyle for Lumbar‘s The First and Last Days of Unwelcome (review here), Edge has a new project going (always, it seems) with vocalist Tim Singer of Deadguy and Kiss it Goodbye. The band is called Process BlackEdge first discussed teaming with Singer here around the time the Lumbar was released, and today, Demo 2015 has made its way to the public as the first audio from the band.

You can buy a download if you have an extra $666 handy, but more likely you’ll want to keep it to streaming, which you can do via a Bandcamp page set up with astronaut-centric design work from Edge himself. As for the sound of the demo’s three tracks, it’s raw noise rock with Edge on guitar and bass, Singer on vocals (go figure) and Brock Lowry (Craft Spells) on drums, but tonally thick enough to stand up, and the recording quality is way more “album” than “demo.” Reportedly there’s more to come.

Until then, here’s info and audio:

process black demo 2015

Process Black, we have liftoff!

This, a demo of our first three songs, is done. We are going to pass this ’round to a few record labels and see what kind of trouble it stirs up. It’s heavy, dynamic, and jarring… and there’s seven other unheard tracks in the bag and ready for the next record.

Guitar and bass recorded by Aaron D.C. Edge at AlphaBaphomet Studios in Portland, OR. Drums recorded by Derek Moree at The Red Room in Seattle, WA. Vocals recorded by Joe Boldizar at Retro City Studios, Philadelphia PA. Demo cover designed by Aaron Edge.

released 22 January 2015

Process Black:
Tim Singer: throat
Brock Lowry: percussion
Aaron Edge: strings

Members of:
Kiss it Goodbye, Craft Spells, Roareth, Deadguy, iamthethorn, No Escape, Lumbar, Cascabel.

More news when more news is known. Thank you.

https://processblack.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.facebook.com/thelumbarendeavor

Process Black, Demo 2015

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Black Pussy, Time Rift, The Dust Bowl, The Sorrows and Einstein-Rosen

Posted in Radio on January 16th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk radio

If I told you it was a varied bunch of stuff added to the server today, would you believe me? Seems I say the same thing every time I do one of these posts, but it applies each time, anyhow. This is the second round of adds of 2015, which means I’m two-for-two on weeks for the year. I doubt very much I’ll be able to keep that pace until we get to 2016 — which sounds like a distant and horrifying future in which cars fly and people work diligently to cure Martians of chicken pox — but it’s good for now. I’m trying to keep more of a handle on reviews than I did last year, and things like this help.

Though it’s only been a week and files haven’t had too much time to pile up — again, that’s the whole idea — there are still 11 records new to the playlist as of this afternoon, so please feel free to hit up the Updates and Playlist Page and check out the full batch for yourself. And with that link plugged, let’s get to it.

The Obelisk Radio adds for Jan. 16, 2015:

Black Pussy, Magic Mustache

MAGICMUSTACHE-cover

After an interim split with Biblical Proof of UFOs that boasted the 20-minute jam “Galaxies,” Portland, Oregon’s Black Pussy return with their second full-length, Magic Mustache, which takes the hazy heavy psych of 2012’s On Blonde and gives it focus around natural tones, brazen hooks and diligently fuzzed variety, tripping out with synth and guitar effects on cuts like “Protopipe” and the brief-but-nod-worthy “Farrah Fawcett” while going full-on Queens of the Stone Age bounce on lead-single “For the Sake of Argument,” motorik space-rock on “Happy” and upping the lysergic swirl on the seven-minute closing title-track. It’s a quality record from a band with a rich sound, engaging songwriting and a well-honed psychedelia, a molten flow on “Lion’s Breath” and “On Top of the World” and others, and while every time I listen to it I can’t help but be bummed out by their moniker — which, despite being Black Pussy is so white and so male in its appropriation; no less so now than when The Rolling Stones picked it as the original title of “Brown Sugar” — I won’t discount the vibe that’s melted all over this material. Still, the distraction takes away from an otherwise righteous listening experience, and at least in my view, hurts a killer band. I wonder if it’s worth it. Black Pussy on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Time Rift, Demo 2015

time rift demo 2015

But for the portraiture of the cover art, one might be tempted to call Demo 2015 a humble beginning for Portland trio Time Rift, whose launch represents a restart for vocalist/bassist Levi Campbell, guitarist Justin Kaye, and drummer Matt Amott, a three-piece formerly operating under the moniker Doomsower. To their credit, Time Rift is a better name, but more than just a switch, Demo 2015 presents them as an entirely new band, more rock-based, rawer in a ’70s-style presentation and less outwardly doomed. Even the seven-minute “The Cimmerian,” which dives headfirst into pre-NWOBHM early metal idolatry (and, yes, gets fairly doomed), keeps a melodic focus, and if there was a need to redirect their approach, at least Time Rift was able to do so while building on the chemistry already developing between them. The short, swing-heavy “Dusty Shelf” and layered vocal chorus of “Demon Hex” and proto-catchiness of “Starcrossed” legitimately sound like CampbellKaye and Amott have gone back to the start, and the exploration they’re embarking on seems like one well worth pursuing. One hopes they’re in a place sound-wise where they want to be, because it suits them. Time Rift on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

The Dust Bowl, Sangre Grande

the dust bowl sangre grande

Spanish heavy rockers The Dust Bowl released their second album, Sangre Grande, late last year and with it, they revel in grunge and desert rock atmospherics. Produced and mixed by guitarist César Royo (also organ, percussion, harmonica, etc.), it’s a vigilantly straightforward offering, delving into pop showmanship on “Bad Feeling,” but otherwise nestling cleanly into the post-QOTSA milieu of crunchy tones, strong hooks and melodic vocals. “Flow down this River” might be its most “the ’90s” moment, but there’s some stiff competition in that regard, while the quietly pulsing “Aqua de 1000 Cactus” brings to mind Kyuss‘ “Space Cadet” before the title-track finishes out in more raucous instrumental fashion. Touches of acoustic guitar, percussion, djembe, organ, backing vocals, and so on give their arrangements more depth than they might otherwise have, but at their core, The Dust Bowl – Royo, vocalist José Ángel Navarro, bassist Alejandro “Vilo” Viloria and drummer Manuel Navarro — are well rooted in the tenets of their genre, and they bring forth an able execution thereof. The Dust Bowl on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

The Sorrows, Gonna Find a Cave

the sorrows gonna find a cave

Some lines it’s hard to make sound cool, but I firmly believe that if The Sorrows can sell, “Wanna be your ever-lovin’ caveman,” they can do just about anything. The reactivated UK group had a couple of singles out in the ’60s, but the three-song Gonna Find a Cave 7″ is brand new, though you’d hardly know it from the sound of the ultra-catchy title-track, or “Don’t Do That” and “Doin’ Alright Tonight,” which follow. The last of them has some touches of what could be an acknowledgement that the ’70s or anything thereafter happened and is so immediately familiar that it has me wondering if it’s a cover and I just can’t place it (any help in that regard is appreciated), but otherwise vocalist Don Fardon and company revel in pure 1965, pre-psychedelic pop rock, right at that moment after the British Invasion but before all the freakout that came next. It’s a place just about nobody these days dares inhabit, and the fact that they were there the first time around only makes Gonna Find a Cave more of a curio. Rise Above Records has unearthed some fascinating releases with roots in this era (see also their Rog & Pip compendium, issued last year), and The Sorrows bring it to life with unquestionable realism on these tracks. The Sorrows at Rise Above Records, Rise Above on Soundcloud.

Einstein-Rosen, Le Pont Noir

einstein-rosen le pont noir

Acoustic intro “Prologue” sets a brooding tone for Le Pont Noir, the debut full-length from Quebecois prog metal instrumental outfit Einstein-Rosen, a solo-project from Louis-Alexandre Jacques, who doubles as guitarist in stoner metallers Grand MorneJacques plays all the instruments on Le Pont Noir, which is all the more impressive when he gets down to the shifting tempos and blastbeats in “Vénérable Vestige,” but the entirety of the album proves more dynamic than one might think for being executed by just one player, breaking into two sides as “Isthme” leads the way into the solo-topped “Neptune” at the start of the second half, the alternating thrash and plod of “Vortex” giving over to cinematic ambience as the nine-minute “Brume Quantique” closes out. Shred-prone stretches like those of “Ruinam” and “Vortex” tell the story of Jacques‘ underlying metal influence, but he seems no more likely to be kept to one single style as to one single band, and Einstein-Rosen‘s first outing only heralds development of an even broader reach. Einstein-Rosen on Bandcamp, Grand Morne on Thee Facebooks.

There you have it. Don’t forget that to see what’s been played today and what else got added, you can always check out The Obelisk Radio Playlist and Updates Page. It wants to be your friend.

Thanks for reading and listening.

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Graves at Sea Sign to Relapse; Debut LP to be Recorded this Summer

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 16th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

graves at sea

I seem to recall about a decade ago there being talk of a Graves at Sea full-length after the stir rightly caused by their 2003 demo, Documents of Grief. Then based in Oakland, CA, and now residing in Portland, OR, the reborn-in-sludge four-piece outfit have inked a deal with none other than Relapse Records and will reportedly set about recording that long-awaited debut this summer. Funny how things work out sometimes.

Graves at Sea released the vinyl This Place is Poison EP last year, as well as a split with Sourvein, and having made stops at Roadburn and Desertfest, among others, they’ve been anything but idle since reforming. The Relapse signing makes sense for them, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the label decided to do a run of Documents of Grief sooner or later as well. Would be nice to see that one get its due with some deluxe-edition pomp and circumstance.

The PR wire has words:

graves at sea logo

GRAVES AT SEA Sign to Relapse Records

Band Set To Record Debut Full-Length This Summer

Relapse Records is extremely proud to announce the signing of underground, cult doom/sludge quartet GRAVES AT SEA. Formed in 2002, the band self-released the demo Documents of Grief which quickly became one of the most talked about underground demos of the decade. After recording their debut 7″ and a split with Asunder in 2004 and 2005 respectively, the band went on hiatus. GRAVES AT SEA are now stronger than ever, focusing their efforts on touring and recording new material. 2014 saw the group release their first new material in over nine years including a split with Sourvein and a separate two song EP.

Now thirteen years since forming, GRAVES AT SEA will record their highly anticipated first official full-length this summer with producer Greg Wilkinson (Brainoil) at Audible Alchemy in Portland, OR. The group commented on the signing and new material:

“So now this is gonna happen…We’re proud to say our first full length ever is coming out on Relapse Records. Relapse has been extremely cool to work with and we think it’s going to be a killer fit. Cheers. DFFD.”

Stay tuned for more info on GRAVES AT SEA including tour dates and more album details.

Graves at Sea Tour Dates
1/31 – Portland, Or – Mississippi Studios w/ Lord Dying and Sons Of Huns

Graves at Sea was formed in 2002 by friends Nick Phit and Nathan Misterek, with then members Roger Williams & Steve Klatz (RIP). After self-releasing the demo titled Documents of Grief, they toured extensively and were quickly noticed by Greg Anderson of Southern Lord/Sunn, who released their 7″ Cirrohosis/Atavist Arise in 2004. Later in 2005 the band released a split with friends Asunder on Life is Abuse (CD) and 20 Buck Spin (vinyl).

In 2007 Graves at Sea went through a line up change when Nathan moved to Oakland and Nick moved to Portland, OR. After playing two final shows with Chiyo Nukaga (Noothgrush) on drums and Miguel Veliz (ex-Sourvein, The Roller) on bass, the band broke up in 2008. In 2012, however, they decided to reunite with Chiyo on drums and Greg Wilkinson (Brainoil) on bass, but due to touring restraints, Chiyo and Greg decided to step down.

2013 marked the band’s first venture to Europe with a lengthy tour including appearances at Roadburn Festival and SWR Festival and a string of West Coast performances. 2014 brought forth their first new material since 2005. Graves At Sea released their split LP with Sourvein on Seventh Rule records at the start of their second European tour (this time with Sourvein). The split was quickly followed up by an EP on Eolian records titled “This Place Is Poison” and numerous US performances including Maryland Deathfest and California’s Day of the Shred Festival.

Graves at Sea is:

Nathan Misterek- vocals
Nick Phit- guitar
Bryan Sours – drums
Jeff McGarrity- bass

https://www.facebook.com/GravesAtSea
http://instagram.com/gravesatseaband
http://digital.eolianempire.com/album/this-place-is-poison

Graves at Sea, This Place is Poison (2014)

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Lord Dying, Poisoned Altars: Wounds and Open Sores

Posted in Reviews on January 15th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

lord-dying-poisoned-altars

Portland, Oregon’s Lord Dying deliver an efficient sludge-thrash beatdown on their second album for Relapse, Poisoned Altars. The follow-up to their 2013 debut, the Sanford Parker-recorded Summon the Faithless, the eight-track/34-minute Poisoned Altars was recorded by Joel Grind of Toxic Holocaust and arrives as the answer to anyone’s question as to just what Lord Dying were spending so much time on the road for, shifting away from some of the High on Fire-worship of their debut — side B’s “Offering Pain (and an Open Minded Center)” and “Suckling at the Teat of a She-Beast” will still fill any quota thereof — while beginning to feel out a more individualized sonic space. Sludge metal prevails, with dual emphasis. In their sound and their cover art, Lord Dying have espoused a penchant for the extreme, and Poisoned Altars, from its opening title-track down through the just-under-seven-minute finale “Darkness Remains,” holds firm to that, but there’s also an emerging rock groove in a track like “A Wound outside of Time” to contend with, and “An Open Sore”‘s second-half bridge brings in Aaron Beam from tourmates and apparent buds Red Fang for a guest appearance noteworthy both for Red Fang‘s profile at this point and for the upbeat catchiness of that part itself. Ultimately, even this fits into Lord Dying‘s stripped-down pummel, from which shades of Matt Pike and Kirk Windstein are never far, but as an example of the band’s growth since their debut, it’s hard to ignore. Ditto that for Poisoned Altars itself, which at the proper volume moves between nods and headbangs in commanding fashion, Lord Dying seeming, in defiance of their moniker, to thrive all the while.

That the album breaks so neatly into two sides with four tracks each is only further indication of its prevailing lack of pretentiousness. Lord Dying know why they’re there, and you know why they’re there — or otherwise they’re going to make it quickly apparent. “Poisoned Altars” itself makes a solid opener in setting up the tempo shifts and tradeoffs between riff styles that guitarist/vocalist Erik Olson, guitarist Chris Evans, bassist Don Capuano and drummer Rob Shaffer (formerly of Dark Castle and seemingly since out of the band, replaced by Nickolis Parks) toy with throughout subsequent tracks. Olson is clearly trying to expand his vocal reach from the Pike/Windstein snarl, and should be commended for both the effort and the result. Their sound being largely straightforward — that is, there’s little flourish or trickery involved in what they do — one can’t help but wonder if Lord Dying see a trap ahead of them in getting too boxed into “what they do,” and if parts of Poisoned Altars aren’t working, consciously or not, to expand those bounds. The opener and “The Clearing at the End of the Path” bludgeon neatly, but with the more open-grooving “A Wound outside of Time” and “An Open Sore” behind them, side A isn’t even done before Lord Dying are working toward a broader reach. This could just be a result of their extensive touring playing out in the progression of their style, or it could be something done on purpose to avoid stagnation. Either way, it’s noteworthy growth from an already vicious style that seems unwilling to relent its extremity. Those who dug Summon the Faithless‘ heaviest moments will no doubt find comfort in those of Poisoned AltarsLord Dying are growing, but not at the expense of what worked so well on their debut.

lord dying

Arranged shortest to longest, side B continues the push with a midsection solo giving way to raw-throated screams and a classic thrash riff that slows and speeds up to lead into the all-out drive of “Suckling at the Teat of a She-Beast,” an album highlight. It trades back and forth between Slayerized tension and a familiar gallop, but particularly in the context of what surrounds and with a change in vocals (not sure if that’s Olson switching approaches or a second guest appearance), it works with metallic righteousness. “(All Hopes of a New Day) …Extinguished” follows, the second parenthetical title on side B and the penultimate of the record, with a slowdown that, next to “Suckling at the Teat of a She-Beast,” emphasizes the two sides of Lord Dying‘s sound and the extremity that ties them together on Poisoned Altars‘ sprint-to-the-finish back half. Past a minute in, “Darkness Remains” hits the most Crowbarian moment here present in a particularly strained bark from Olson, but by then, the point has been so nailed down that one would hardly blink at it. They shift into an instrumental concluding movement — lead and rhythm guitars intertwining fluidly; the solo is a standout — and end by deconstructing the tight riffing by fading it into a swell of rumbling amp noise that concludes the album without further word. They’re gone as brutally as they arrived, but Lord Dying nonetheless leave the impression of a turn to come. Particularly with their habit of hard touring, Poisoned Altars seems to have set them up for a pivotal moment to come as they bring the progression here to further fruition their next time out. It will be their third record that determines ultimately their course as a band, but their second serves as much more than a placeholder in affirming the payoff of the effort they’ve put in on the road thus far. It is evolution won the hard way.

Lord Dying, Poisoned Altars (2015)

Lord Dying on Thee Facebooks

Lord Dying on Bandcamp

Lord Dying at Relapse Records

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