With the Dead
Love from With the Dead


3.2
good

Review

by insomniac15 STAFF
September 25th, 2017 | 16 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Death, decay, misery and insanity documented into an exhausting, 66-minute experience….

Doom metal supergroup With the Dead are back with a sophomore effort, sarcastically called Love from With the Dead. I actually anticipated this album, because there’s something about their debut that makes me return every once in a while to it. It is far from flawless, but it has charisma and its sheer power is infectious. Front man Lee Dorrian (ex-Cathedral) mentioned he wants to make this band the heaviest possible and it wasn’t a joke. Now, with a second LP out, the quartet wanted to take things to the next level. Since Mark Greenberg (ex-Electric Wizard, Ramesses) is out of the picture, the band brought Alex Thomas (Bolt Thrower) and Leo Smee (ex-Cathedral) to complete the line-up.

The results of two inspired sessions held one year apart in January 2016 & 2017 are 66 minutes of incredibly murky, loud riffage. There is nothing hopeful here, only death, decay, misery and insanity. The detached music creates a nihilistic vibe and the pounding sonic structures are akin to a boot pressing harder with each minute on your head. Dorrian’s vocals sort of animate the journey, yet even he sounds like he’s halfway gone or sometimes a cyborg. Long story short, the guys are really compelling when it comes to the atmosphere they want to create. Whether they wish to further express this through the overall production as well, I am not sure. Compared to the debut, the guitar and bass are downtuned to the point where they are indistinguishable one from the other. Yes, they are more powerful and tractor heavy this way, still the result is a bit flat. There are few moments on Love from With the Dead that can be called even remotely melodic. ‘Egyptian Tomb’ and ‘Reincarnation of Yesterday’ get closest as Tim Bagshaw (ex-Electric Wizard) plays some sparse guitar lines over a wall of distortion. There are subtle changes here and there, however, they are not very notable amid the chaos, because you’re bombarded with a sustained level of hellish riffs. ‘Anemia’ does shares some awe-inspiring guitar leads though, and a rare, subdued segment that builds tension for another round of aggro release.

Meanwhile, for an even more extreme pleasure, ‘Cocaine Phantoms’, ‘Watching the Ward Go By’ & monster closer ‘CV1’ are a doom purist’s dream. Featuring trudging riffs bonanza, these songs are guaranteed to destroy any trace of positivism you might have left at this point. The huge drums are the biggest highlight on the record as they shape the guitar/bass madness. Dorrian’s dramatic vocals are doing their best to capture an authentic feel and his experience within the genre does show. He’s one of the two reasons I return to listening to them. The man knows what he’s doing and sounds really cool while at it. ‘Watching the Ward Go By’ seems like a soundtrack to a walk in Silent Hill. The steady kick/tom beats and light string touches topped by spoken words are somber and lead to some of the most dismal riffs I have ever heard. Then, to top things off, enter ‘CV1’, a daunting end to this dreary journey. The 17-minute onslaught drags you deeper into gloom and during the last 5 minutes oscillators create a noisy pattern that joins the rest of the instruments into an apocalyptic coda. The powerful experience With the Dead create is the second reason I come back to them. Needless to say, this isn’t an album for a casual listener of this type of music.

In the end, Love from With the Dead is in some ways a step backwards from the self-titled LP. The production is not well-rounded and the overwhelming length does not help the rather linear structures. Keeping this record at 45 minutes would’ve been the first step in making it a better follow-up. Indeed, the overall vibe does feel genuine, yet they did it better through a leaner production. Even so, again I found myself listening to this more than I thought I would. The extreme nature, muddy tones as well as Lee’s charismatic persona have that something which lures me into this bleak universe. It’s a weird sensation, but I enjoy (guilty pleasure) this niche they carve for themselves. Electric Wizard are groovier, still, these days they seem like a little whiny baby next to With the Dead. If they keep this raw direction and go slower, soon they’ll drop a Sunn O))) album. I hope they will diversify their output though, because this way the novelty will wear off and the monotony threatens to get stale (for some I am sure it was there from the start).




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user ratings (13)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
PsychicChris (3.5)
There’s something to be said for With the Dead’s adherence to their nihilistic vision...



Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
September 25th 2017


4396 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

A polarizing record. This is caveman doom like Conan would say.

Also, 'Vessel of Solitude' is not featured on the record, it was released as a 7" this Spring through Decibel Magazine.



'Isolation' (the weakest song off the record IMO) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJK7AEocCP8

'Anemia' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etLfQIgHzGY

Digging: Telepathy - Tempest

AdolfChrist
September 25th 2017


13536 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

66 minutes?...jesus christ. The s/t was a good listen but i cant imagine sitting through that for over an hour.

Digging: Swarms - Black Chapel Sun

Astral Abortis
Contributing Reviewer
September 25th 2017


3809 Comments


Band name, album title and album cover are all absolutely awful, but seeing the line-up in the review made me think twice and I gave the track posted a listen and it's pretty good. Total Celtic Frost worship though so I'm intrigued to see if the other, longer tracks are in the same vein.

EDIT: nvm turns out that track isn't even on the album. I'll listen to one of the other linked tracks now.

Astral Abortis
Contributing Reviewer
September 25th 2017


3809 Comments


Yeah these two tracks from the album are far less cool than Vessel of Solitude so I'll probably give this a miss

AdolfChrist
September 26th 2017


13536 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

s/t is better. more memorable riffs and vocals.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
September 26th 2017


4396 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

Yeah, the debut had a better sound and grooves. Nevertheless, I am impressed how far they went with this one to crush you.

AdolfChrist
September 26th 2017


13536 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Also Dorrian's performance was really boring this time around. Seems like he didnt give a shit, lyrically or vocally.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
September 26th 2017


4396 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

It's weird to defend it, because it ain't nothing groundbreaking, but I still like his performance lol.

tacos n stuff
September 26th 2017


2708 Comments


i dug the debut, was simple good fun
guess i'll give this a shot, despite the off putting length :/

Digging: East of Oceans - 121 Years

AdolfChrist
September 27th 2017


13536 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Debut was fun as fuck. Loved Dorrian's performance, the riffs were memorable and had variety, and the drumming was perfect.

sputnik1
September 27th 2017


311 Comments


Looking forward to this, i have the first one and like it and i love Cathedral. Doom on...!

Digging: The Vintage Caravan - Voyage

rockandmetaljunkie
September 28th 2017


6934 Comments


Superb review, this will be one the first albums i"ll get on once i return home. Despite of how stale it may sound like, i'm always positive about anything Dorrian is involved with and this one will be no exception.

AdolfChrist
September 28th 2017


13536 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

well, just like their first record, i was initially underwhelmed but its grown on me.



btw, why is Vessel of Solitude embedded at the end of the review when its not on this album?

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
September 29th 2017


4396 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

Because I could not find any other tracks off the new album on Soundcloud. Plus, it's a good track.

SomeGuyDude
September 29th 2017


230 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is one of those cases where I agree with the analysis but not the conclusion. I agree the debut was better, but this is a really excellent album.

Egarran
November 3rd 2017


4288 Comments


Well, the review is good.



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