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With The Dead – Love From With The Dead

With The Dead
Love From With The Dead
by Erik Akos at 01 December 2017, 10:35 AM

WITH THE DEAD are a Stoner/Doom band from The United Kingdom. They released their debut self-titled album in 2015 via Rise Above Records, and here we have their follow-up, ”Love From With The Dead”. First off I want to clarify that I don’t like either genres this band (and record) belong to, so I was pretty skeptical about it from the get-go, and after listening to the record a few times, I must say, ”Love From With The Dead”did not change my mind.

To tell you the truth, I enjoyed this album a lot more on my second listen, but ultimately my verdict remained the same. The record kicks in with the track  ”Isolation” - and with the most amount of guitar distortion the human ear can bear without exploding - but I must say, it’s not that bad actually. The song (and essentially the album, has a great start, and ”Isolation” really builds up on the feeling of… well, isolation. The chemistry between the guitar and the rhythm section is also cool. Also, did I mention this album has AUDIBLE BASS? Yeah, that’s a great thing in terms of production, especially with the guitar having so much distortion; it’s nice to hear that they didn’t forget about their bassist. Overall, I’d say this is a solid track off the album, and probably one of the best.

Next is up is ”Egyptian Tomb”, with some even better riffing, further establishing that Tim Bagshaw is a really talented guy. Props to him, for he really carries this album, although it’s unfortunately not enough, but more on that later, for now, let’s stick to track no. 2. It’s relatively different from ”Isolation”, but it still keeps the same atmosphere and theme as it’s predecessor, but without the building and developing; it just stops. It’s like they gave the entry track a different dress, but it stayed the same in truth. Another problem are the vocals. It’s like ketchup and ice cream. Both are good, for distinctive reasons, but they don’t match at all. Lee Dorrian’s performance on the disk is at times generic, but overall decent, though it doesn’t fit the ’heavy as hell’ musical side of the effort. I get that they were trying to go for something different, but it failed. Some growling would have made the record a lot more enjoyable.

Reincarnation of Yesterday” is a stand-out composition, a unique and exciting journey of getting high. It is the most in-your-face-styled song and the most authentic (especially on the vocals) as far as the Stoner theme goes; I think this is my favourite one on here. It gave me a glimpse of that small hope that maybe this record may indeed be phenomenal and made me forget the blandness of ”Egyptian Tomb’s” second half.  On a little side note, I didn’t look into the lyrics nor did I understand them, but the fact that this is a Stoner record really bugs me. I’m not into Stoner music, but I always thought it was supposed to be comedy-based, or just simply fun, and this album simply comes off as just dark and morbid, which really doesn’t go hand in hand.

Okay, back to the matter at hand, track 4. Man, this is where stuff gets G.E.N.E.R.I.C.. The theme, the instrumentalization, the vocals, everything is so unnecesarily forced and repetitive, it’s a pain in the neck. It’s not atrocious, it doesn’t suck, but after the first few minutes, I was just praying for this song to end so we can continue and get closer to the end of this misery. The only merits I can give ”Cocaine Phantoms” are the title and the unsettling, dark atmosphere, which is the only breath of freshness I could find in these 9 minutes.

Watching The Ward Go By” is also a rather unexpected take, to a certain extent. There are no distorted guitars or actual singing in the first half, just some clean axing and some dude talking about something; that’s the best way to sum it up. Then, in the fifth minute, we have some powerful guitar/vocal harmony, which lasts for about 15 seconds, before getting back to the usual formula. It’s a shame to be honest, because this one had a lot of potential, but besides those 15 seconds and the outro drums, there’s nothing in the second half of ”Watching The Ward Go By”  to be appreciated.

Anemia” returns with the unsettling, almost Halloween-ish atmosphere with some good old fashioned nihilism; as if the drugs weren’t enough. But sadly, ”Anemia” is the weakest track on the album, and that says a lot. I’d even go as far as to say the eighth song on WITH THE DEAD’s second album is the only song that actually sucks. It’s miserable, but not in a good way; it’s miserable for the listener. The compositions aren’t just generic, they are uninspired and poor. ”Anemia” was one of the worst 7 minutes of my life.

CV1” doesn’t save anything, but at least is a lot tolerable than most songs on the disk. Maybe it’s because it’s right after the worst song, who knows? I’m sitting here, writing this, wanting to forget this album and especially this song, but actually that may be a plus, for ”CV1” at least. Maybe, just maybe the song had this negative impact on me, the mood, the nihilism, the darkness, and that’s why I feel so bad now. Or maybe it’s simply because I don’t like it at all and I’m trying to make excuses for it or whatever. The concluding track is a non-stop 20 minutes of overly distorted stale riffing with an interesting, but not revolutionary glitching outro that leaves a little bittersweet aftertaste.

So, in conclusion, ”Love From With The Dead” hated me, but in all honesty, I hated it more. Okay, just kidding, but this album is the definition of mediocrity. It had a lot of potential, but it fell on it’s face after the third track. The record is a nice and sometimes interesting effort at making something new, but overall it sticks to it’s formula too much and becomes really generic due to the lack of diversity and bravery.

Songwriting: 5
Originality: 7
Memorabilty: 2
Production: 8

2 Star Rating

1.  Isolation
2.  Egyptian Tomb
3.  Reincarnation of Yesterday
4.  Cocaine Phantoms
5.  Watching The Ward Go By
6.  Anemia
7.  CV1
Lee Dorrian – Vocals
Tim Bagshaw – Guitars
Leo Smee – Bass
Alex Thomas – Drums
Record Label: Rise Above Records


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Edited 22 October 2018

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