After Cathedral’s monumental swan song The Last Spire, easily one of the best
doom records and farewell records in the history of metal and a huge win for
post 00’s true heavy metal, many wondered if we would hear Lee Dorian’s raspy,
unique voice again. The high wizard of Rise Above Records has returned much
sooner than some may have expected with the new, less active band With the
Dead, featuring fouding Electric Wizard rhythm section Tim Bagshaw and Mark
Greening.Their new S/T record is excellent.
This was a huge year for doomy, sludgy, stoner bands-especially those on the
more extreme side. From Demon Lung’s A Dracula‘s groovy but bewitching might
to Crypt Sermon’s classic sound to Hooded Menace’s death infused slime sludge
to Lucifer rising and proving we’d still have Gary Jennings of Cathedral’s
mighty talent in the scene as well! Hearing Dorian intone ,“Illuminate this
cosmic heart” on With The Dead’s “Crown of Burning Stars” is more than a
simple pleasure in life. If you love the real history of metal, this album
will hit you like numerous super hard birthday punches from your best mates.
It’s all there for doom fans. Haunting, occult samples to rattling, room sound
drums with cutting cymbals to bulldozer riffs at ponderous tempos from beyond
the grave, your mind will drift to brink of the edge of outer space with
Dorian narrating like Lewis Carrol’s mad hatter was an undertaker and Master
of Reality was mandatory listening at your funeral. “I Am Your Virus” features
some cleaner passages on guitar and great use of space, but the majority of
the passages on this album are crushing, doomy yet melodic and fully
charred like a dying, still smoking caldera.