Lord Dying continues its journey.
Formed in the USA in 2010, the band comprising Erik Olson (guitar/vocals), Chris Evans (guitar), Alyssa Mocere (bass) and Kevin Swartz (drums, Forgotten Gods, Infinite Waste, Tithe…) unveil Clandestine Transcendence, their fourth album, released on MNRK Heavy in 2024 and produced by Kurt Ballou (Converge).
The album gets off to an ominously gentle start with The Universe Is Weeping, a melodic yet dissonant first composition whose contrast gradually fades, leaving heady patterns to grow heavier. Violence gradually reclaims its rightful place in the company of the vocal parts, but there are also a few calmer choruses that lead into I Am Nothing I Am Everything and its screaming influences. The band skilfully places livelier riffs underneath its wild screams, but these are sometimes transformed into more piercing harmonics before returning to rage, then giving way to Unto Becoming and its mystical tones covered by a heavy approach and leads each crazier than the last. The band follow up with Final Push into the Sun, which mixes catchy riffs with explosive aggressive touches, but also more surprising airy parts packed with effects that let the sound gradually fade away before the longest track, Dancing on the Emptiness. It starts out with an almost psychedelic but highly rhythmic approach populated by ethereal vocal interventions, then builds to a hellish final before Facing the Incomprehensible returns to develop its oppressive elements while incorporating some unexpected backing vocals and dazzling guitars. The short A Brief Return to Physical Form allows us a moment’s respite with a dark melody, then quietness is slightly disturbed on A Bond Broken by Death, letting the drums energize the composition, which becomes much more frenetic by adopting diversified influences. The album continues with Break in the Clouds (In the Darkness of Our Minds), a soaring track with elaborate leads that compete with hazy vocals that flare up without warning, then madness takes hold of the musicians again on Soul Metamorphosis and its unpredictable guitars that follow an initially energetic rhythm that becomes almost lethargic at times. The growling continues as the basis ignites again, then Swimming in the Absence revives the majestic tones over a rather slow rhythm before hypnotizing us to let The Endless Road Home haunt the album’s final moments thanks to an eerie sound that eventually becomes freer and more ethereal.
Lord Dying has rapidly established itself as a benchmark for Sludge, while developing its own touch with diverse influences. Clandestine Transcendence is a perfect example, blending a thick heavy Old School base with screaming, dissonant and exhilarating peaks.