With The Dead are a supergroup, although they’re not so keen on the term. They are a heavier-than-heavy metal trio made up from Tim Bagshaw and Mark Greening of Electric Wizard and Lee Dorrian of Cathedral and Napalm Death. Dorrian also owns the pioneering UK label Rise Above. The label have had a fractious relationship with Electric Wizard over the years, but all seems fine on their eponymous debut...or has it added to the brutal sounds waiting to fight their way out of your speakers? I think you’re gonna like this.
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Some people from Electric Wizard hang out with dude from Napalm Death and fail to cover “You Suffer”, 0/10. Alternatively, some of extreme metal’s earliest proponents (on different ends of the spectrum) make a record that feels relatively quite pleasant: chunky lethargic chords, yes, a fair bit of evil guy taunting (like the cries of “No turning back!” on the first track, which are reverberated to sound something like Limp Bizkit), but the occasional squeaky riff eeking out of the low end. With the Dead, who are obviously not affiliated with the Dead, have actually made one of the year’s most entertaining doom trips.
Compared with other Wizard outings, these songs are short and sweet, structured around short lyrical mantras that allow riffs to wind around them, serving as extra flourishes among steady-hands rhythm and gruesome distortion. The solo that trails out of “Crown of Burning Stars” feels perfectly ordinary but quite nice indeed, while the whimsical string bends of “The Cross” intersect with a discordant sequence of sludge and a “fuck you!” for your patience.
“Living With the Dead” is the band’s most crushing incarnation, slowed to the lowest heart rate while guitars swirl ahead and drum fills get maneuvered like drying cement. The Dead are cool; while not too silly, this is good doom pulp. What a long, strange trip it’s been.
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