Lord Dying is a sometimes sludgy, sometimes proggy, but always excellent band that hails from Portland, OR. I've never been to Portland, OR, but from what I gather from the band's latest release, Clandestine Transcendence, it's a city that doesn't get a lot of warmth and sun. Lord Dying (and this shouldn't be a surprise given the band's name) gives us a dark, melancholy and downright gritty record that is about death and what happens in the afterlife. It's a fascinatingly original record that straddles a concept, that has really taken hold of me over the past number of weeks. It's been the perfect soundtrack for those late night drives in the cold and rainy Pennsylvania woods.
Produced by the masterful Kurt Ballou (Kvelertak, Code Orange, Cave In), Lord Dying presents us with twelve gristly cuts that describe the journey of The Dreamer. The Dreamer is an immortal being who wants to die. On this record, he gets his wish and explores what happens beyond death. The lyrics are poignant and meld perfectly with the music. The songwriting on this record is particularly stellar and the band shows a great deal of growth from their earlier recordings.
I love the tremolo guitars that enter with the breakdown about four and a half minutes into the second track, "I Am Nothing. I Am Everything". But that's only one part of a much larger whole. There exists this raw heft to this particular song that underlies this brilliantly bleak journey the band takes you through here. Yeah, it's heavy, but it's more than that. There's affect from the first note to the last and the composition seems to embrace you like a dingy cold flannel blanket on a frigid winter's day. It's not about comfort, but rather, contemplation. Lord Dying – painfully brilliant.
The goth-inspired "The Endless Road Home" seems to mash up the Sisters Of Mercy with space-inspired prog rock with a hefty dose of Mind Funk circa 1991. While 2024 is still in its infancy, this is one my early contenders for song of the year. It's the closing cut on the record and it really leaves you wanting so much more. There's more goth-like material on the record to boot. For those of you who are into that, be sure to check out the fourth song on the LP, "Final Push Into The Sun," which also features a killer bass line from the very capable hands of relative Lord Dying newcomer Alyssa Mocere. She also really amazes on "Dancing On the Emptiness." What a great addition to this band.
Overall, Lord Dying made a really fantastic record. The diversity in the arrangements, the musicianship, and the firm embrace of a number of metal sub-genres is so ever apparent on literally every single track. In this respect, I might liken them to a North American version of Norway's Enslaved. They don't place limits on their composition and blend and bridge different types of sounds without fear.
This is a standout LP that has so much to offer for so many. If you haven't heard Lord Dying yet and you're looking for something that's refreshingly original, this is most definitely a band you need to listen to. Pick it up and lament our post-material existence.