In an age of genre bending and mind-numbingly technical music, isn’t it nice to have tunes that are straightforward and unpretentious? While others are struggling to piece together their unique and complex identity through cramming as many notes and styles into a solo, bands like Lord Dying have known who they wanted to be since they began. Poisoned Altars is the latest offering from the Portland sludge/doom outfit and it showcases their disdain for bullshit and frills right from the get-go. The only thing the band honors above all else is the almighty riff. However, no matter how mighty the riff, there are other things that should be accounted for as well.
Due to it being the only thing the band truly holds close to their collective heart, there is not a single sour riff on this album. Song after song, they pummel and decimate all that you hold near and dear. Songs such as ‘Offering Pain (And An Open Minded Center)’, ‘The Clearing at the End of The Path‘ and ‘(All Hopes of a New Day)…Extinguished‘ will have you kneeling on the ground searching for fragments of your hammer smashed skull as brains begin to ooze from the newly crafted crater. Not only do the excellent progressions never end, but the drums and bass aid in making them more effective and pushing the songs forward.
Excellent composition can only carry an album so far, though. Just like any great wall of sound, there is the possibility of having a few weak spots. The vocals are one of them. They may be secondary on a record like this, but are still important as they occur throughout every track. Lines are delivered as mid-range shouts that are not bad by any means in any individual song. However, there is little variation in their delivery which makes them feel stale over the course of the record. Credit needs to be given where credit is due, as an attempt is made to break up the monotony by adding clean shouts in the song, ‘An Open Sore’. This attempt is successful as the clean vocals are not particularly pleasing and feel out of place in the song, which made the mid-range shouts coming back feel welcome. The vocals are not the only place where a stale feeling begins to set in. While the material is well written and enjoyable on a song to song basis, after extended time with the album, it grows tiresome. This is not a record that you will find yourself going back to for repeated listens, as you’ve heard it all on the first couple run-throughs.
Lord Dying stay true to themselves by making sure that their music is riff centered, unpretentious and as straightforward as possible while still being interesting. Sadly, interest wanes when very few curveballs are thrown at the listener throughout the duration of the record and repeated listens don’t seem to be an option when everything you need to hear is laid out and explained within the first few listens.
Stream the album in full over at Loudwire.
Lord Dying’s Poisoned Altars gets…