Friday, October 23, 2015

Review of With The Dead

Serving as both a supergroup and a reunion, With The Dead was formed by Electric Wizard/Rameses comrades Tim Bagshaw and Mark Greening in conjunction with Lee Dorrian of the recently disbanded Cathedral. The resulting debut was recorded and released in a hasty yet secretive fashion, seemingly fueled by grievances with the almighty Wizard. Many supergroups are formed when someone puts a bunch of musicians in a room together to see what happens; With The Dead's debut was born with the intent of venting rage and spreading doom laden despair.

Those fantasizing about a Dopethrone-Forest of Equilibrium hybrid may not be too far off from the truth. The vocals have the same character of The Last Spire but the raw production puts the instruments at a fuzzy distance, the pacing never goes beyond the vague energy of "I Am Your Virus," and Bagshaw proves to be a competent guitarist though the sparse leads are simple and the melodies are driven by pounding chords rather than outright riffs.
But there is a decent amount of variety even with the slow tempos and six song duration. Things start off a little rocky with "The Cross" in particular feeling somewhat stilted. Fortunately, the album picks up as "Nephthys" offers a mournful refrain most reminiscent of Equilibrium while "Living With The Dead" unleashes a hard groove after the album's quirkiest sample.

With The Dead's debut feels hastily put together but that rawness combined with the names involved will be the reason why doom fans love it in the first place. It may be one of the darkest albums that any of these musicians has been involved with may be closer to the spirit of primal Cathedral than that band's last efforts. It'd be great to see this lineup expanded with a worthy guitarist but it works well as an unrehearsed blast of cathartic doom.

"Living With The Dead"
"I Am Your Virus"

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