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LORD DYING Clandestine Transcendence

By Andrew Depedro, Ottawa Corespondent
Tuesday, January 16, 2024 @ 10:43 AM


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LORD DYING
Clandestine Transcendence

MNRK Heavy Records




Death!
Rebirth!
And everything in between!

Portland, Oregon-based progressive sludge masters LORD DYING have always excelled in transforming tragedy into triumph throughout their short journey in this thing called life. Yet, since their debut upon the scene back in 2010, the quartet comprised of cofounders Erik Olson (guitar, vocals) and Chris Evans (guitar) along with Alyssa Mocere (former bassist for EIGHT BELLS) and Kevin Swartz (current drummer of TITHE), these esteemed doom dealers have amassed a steady following of global converts headbanging in devotion, catching the band at festivals and on tours with genre giants like CROWBAR, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY, and fellow Portlanders RED FANG. Even from the earliest rumblings of their first demo and self-titled EP (both issued in 2011), through the piledriving force of Summon The Faithless (2013) and crushing despair of Poisoned Altars (2015), Olson and Evans maintained a vision for LORD DYING's ever-evolving sound. Songs like "In A Frightful State Of Gnawed Dismemberment", "An Open Sore", and "Darkness Remains" pulled no punches. Indeed, LORD DYING continue to masterfully melancholic heavy music for the misanthropic, with grit and grime, and even with a focal character by the name of The Dreamer who makes its official debut on 2019's Mysterium Tremendum (Latin for "awe-inspiring mystery" or "terrible mystery," depending on one's view of existence). A complexity of sorts, The Dreamer is described by Olsonas an immortal being that wants to die - and it is on the band's latest offering Clandestine Transcendence in which he gets that wish.

From the dulcet opening chords of b>"The Universe Is Weeping" (featuring Alyssa's melodic-sounding closing vocals) and the sharpened hooks of "I AM NOTHING, I AM EVERYTHING" and the hypersonic-sounding "Unto Becoming", Clandestine is LORD DYING's ying and yang moment throughout. The songwriting is at its most poignant, the riffs are at their loudest, and overall, the softer side is even dreamier while the heavy side is twice as brutal, as reinforced on hidden gems such as "Bond Broken By Death", "Swimming In The Absence", "Soul Metamorphosis" and the closing number, "The Endless Road Home", chronicling The Dreamer's final quest for eternal sleep, his one last wish granted after experiencing several lifetimes. Produced by CONVERGE guitarist Kurt Ballou (HIGH ON FIRE, CODE ORANGE, KVELERTAK) at his God City Studios, Clandestine Transcendence steps even further into the great unknown, filled with riffs and vibes and giving Olson's often-underused clean vocals more airtime. As with the previous album, Olson and Evans composed all of the music and demoed it before arrivingat the studio. "Kurt is fantastic. It was a real pleasure working with him," Olson says. "He was very familiar with the demo as he'd listened to it a lot. We knew where we wanted to go with it."

While Clandestine Transcendence may herald the end of The Dreamer's last journey to the Great Unknown, it also further heralds the growing creative ascent of LORD DYING's brand of powerful progressive doom as the band's own life lessons earn them their rightful place in the black hole sun.

5.0 Out Of 5.0

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