Within a few seconds of this debut from new doom crew With The Dead I’m blown away by the production sounds, the music sounding completely bashed out, craggly, in the reds, just shocking in the best of ways. And then Lee Dorrian’s voice comes in, and this is it, the sounds we kinda never thought we’d get again after Cathedral’s demise, the goosebumps coming back, and the magic in place. Dorrian is backed up by Tim Bagshaw on guitars and bass, and Mark Greening on drums, both of whom served time in the mighty Electric Wizard, so while the riff majesty isn’t quite up to Cathedral levels, damned if it’s not close. Tempos stick to the mid for much of this, things not slowing down to a first-album Cathedral crawl but also not up to a second-album Cathedral boogie, rather finding a perfect heavy metal mid-spot that worships all the fuzz and doom and pure traditional metal that you’d expect from these guys.
Toss in a movie sample here, a tripped-out quiet part there, and, sure, a touch of sluggish sludge-y doom elsewhere and this is pretty much exactly what I’d hoped it would be but was worried it couldn’t be. It is, and, wow, am I ever impressed. Check out “Screams From My Own Grave” (but, really, check out the whole album) for a good sample of the glorious doom this band lays down; when you hear the excellent haunting guitar refrain that shuts it down, you can’t help but be in a bit of awe at the experience, the album experience, that just happened. A spectacular debut.