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4 out of 5 skulls
October 18, 2016 | ,

With The Dead With The Dead

When word for With the Dead’s formation spread, oozing through the metal world, to say that folks were excited would be a bit of an understatement. Featuring Lee Dorrian (Cathedral, Napalm Death) on vocals and Electric Wizard alumni manning the rhythm section — Mark Greening (drums) and Time Bagshaw (guitars, bass) — the six songs on the group’s debut are chock full of heavy-handed doom, groove and sludge.

“Crown of Burning Stars,” the album’s opener gets rolling with a brief sound clip before unleashing a monolithic wall of riffage that gets the head nodding immediately with familiarity (thank you Bagshaw). The track is infectious, carrying a solid groove through Dorrian’s half sung, half spoken delivery — I love as he becomes a bit unhinged with his screams at the end. The track serves its purpose well by setting the mood and overall atmosphere of sludgy gloom. “The Cross” is a bit more up-tempo with a rolling rhythm and a heavy, dense texture filling the air. It’s just as infectious as the first song, weaving its way into your head-banging skull.

Apparently, Nephthys is the protective goddess of death in ancient Egyptian times. “Nephthys” is is the group’s ode to her. It’s a dark and morose song that carries a few Cathedral-isms throughout. “Living with the Dead” is a chugging, buzzed out monster of a song that sees Dorrian repeat a small number of lines several times while Bagshaw slowly chainsaws your skull and Greening punishes your spinal column with heavy-handed, methodical drum work.

“I am Your Virus” is dark yet groove-fueled right from the opening riff. There is a constant sticky buzz coating this song that only adds to the atmosphere. About the only thing missing at this moment is a dense bong haze hanging in the air. “Screams from My Own Grave” wraps up a stellar debut from the group with aplomb. That opening bit of drum work before the big riff and Dorrian’s distant vocals is pretty damn badass. I really hope that this album isn’t a flash in the pan as I can’t wait for more.

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