Released by: Rise Above Records
Release Date: 16 October 2015
Genre: Doom Metal
Lee Dorrian – vocals
Tim Bagshaw – guitar / bass
Mark Greening – drums
01. Crown of Burning Stars
02. The Cross
04. Living With the Dead
05. I Am Your Virus
06. Screams From My Own Grave
When members of different legendary bands form a “supergroup”, it rarely lives up to the goodwill they have earned from their fans. The music is often a watered down and derivative version of the great music they made in their former lineups (Led Zeppelin and Uriah Heep forming The Firm, Rage Against the Machine and Soundgarden coming together for Audioslave). Fortunately, this is not the case for With the Dead-the new doom metal 3-piece featuring the snarling pipes of Lee Dorian of Cathedral, and the thunderous guitar and drum smashing abilities of Tim Bagshaw and Mark Greening of doom groundbreakers, Electric Wizard.
Formed in late 2014, Dorian, Bagshaw and Greening had “nothing to prove, but plenty to express” and they have somehow managed to improve on the sounds they have cultivated for years and brought us a seven song doom masterpiece.
The first track on their self-titled debut, “Crown of Burning Stars”, is an explosion from the ground, a nasty punch to the gut-a severely down tuned monster that incorporates the angrier elements of Cathedral and the speedier vibes of Electric Wizard.
As the listener wades further into the album, they will discover the song “Nephthys”, about the Egyptian goddess of the death experience, which oozes from the speakers as Dorian chants morbidly “come to me Nephthys, I’m waiting” as Bagshaw’s growling guitar moves at a dirge-like cadence. On “Living with the Dead”, Dorian wears his horror movie influences on his sleeve, with the track moving at a slug’s pace, and also displaying a rare moment of calm for the album, before ending with a scream that’s devoured by whatever hell Dorian, Greening, and Bagshaw have conjured. Later, they sprinkle a little bit of psychedelic stardust into the bloodied ears of the listener with the track “I Am Your Virus”, crafting the closest thing to an “accessible“ song for this type of album. If you want to give someone a gateway track to recommend for the band, this would be it.
On the last track, the self-evident “Instrumental”, it almost sounds like With the Dead are making the end credits to a movie, giving the listener the feeling that everything they just heard was the soundtrack to a horror movie that doesn’t exist. Given Dorian’s oft spoken love of old fright flicks that would be a safe assumption to make.
With the Dead have put together a new doom classic that assembles the best parts of what makes doom metal great, but also shines a light on what it can become. I want to listen to it again.
Written by: David Locklear
Ratings: David 10/10