The metal world sometimes tends to get hung up on geographic locales when it comes to certain styles of music. For example, when discussing black metal or doom, Texas probably isn’t the first place anyone generally thinks of, right? Well the thinking about what’s brewing down in the Lone Star State should shift, and soon, because the evidence would suggest there is something altogether unholy in the water down there, and we aren’t talking about the pollution in the Rio Grande. In fact, one of the best hybrid metal albums you’ll hear this year comes from Dallas, seven-piece, blackened doom outfit, Dead To A Dying World.
If you weren’t familiar with this band’s previous output, quick perusal of Dead To A Dying World’s sophomore album, Litany, would reveal that only two of six tracks clock in at under 14 minutes in length. The astute metal fan would immediately assume that doom was on the listening horizon and while that would not be a crazy assumption to make, to assume that this is just some lazy riff-fest with with only slightly varied notes being beaten and abused for minutes on end would be a huge mistake. It’s safe to say that Dead To A Dying World have zero interest in pummeling you with outright heaviness for over an hour, but they are insistent that you come with them on a very dark journey to select corners of the aural universe where the only payment you need to make to the boatman are tiny slivers of your very soul.
From the opening track Dead To A Dying World are not laying their allegiances to any given genre for too long. Bitter blasts of second wave styled black metal are adroitly cut by dream-like viola, eventually giving way to truly distinctive, ambient interludes. The 16-minute opener, “The Hunt Eternal,” sets the barometer with an almost soundtrack-like flow to it, only to be followed by the neo-classical, maudlin piece, “Cicatrix.” The ethereal vibe is carried onto the next track, “Eventide,” only to eventually, once again, be tossed into heavy climes – this time a downright curmudgeonly take on sludge/post-metal that hearkens back to the dastardly roots of the current ‘Southern Metal’ craze. The gliding transition back into “Beneath The Loam” is once again ripped out from under us in waves of heaviness that eventually circle back to the thrilling, frost-bitten leanings of classic black metal.
And so it goes, on and on, this sort of musical manic-depression, where the most despondent places are often, simultaneously, the most beautiful and the most frantic and harrowing places seem to at times have a soothing essence about them. Even the vocals race across the spectrum from unholy bursts of anguish to an alluring, male/female clean vocal dynamic throughout the album. To say Dead To A Dying World have discovered some sort of sonic formula for the most wicked interpretation of the Ying Yang is plausible. Their ability to both successfully tranquilize and arouse the senses within the structure of one movement is phenomenal. From outright despair to lush serenity, and back, could seemingly be the tagline for this album. Fans of a wide variety of extreme forms of metal music should not overlook this band at all.
Litany will be available through Tofu Carnage/Gilead Media/Alerta Antifascista on October 16. You can preview the track “Beneath The Loam” at the Dead To A Dying World Bandcamp page.