Dead to a Dying World – Litany (Gilead Media)Thursday, 27th August 2015
American black metal is starting to gain a familiar rumble. The basement black metal renderings of the 00’s guard has now been replaced, or enhanced, by a less-sideways, but more identifiable template. With the charge being led by Deafheaven and Liturgy, it’s only natural for more dominos to fall in such a manner, which is where Dallas, TX troupe Dead to a Dying World come in. A six-piece playing foundational American black metal with folk twists (think Agalloch-inspired clean vocals), the sonic battering that comes from their Litany effort may be more of a sign of the times, yet it does have its positives.
The workaround with Dead to a Dying World appears to be their crust/sludge side, generally a style that is avoided when making friends with black metal. After the blinding opening run of “The Hunt Eternal” (a song that goes beyond the 16-minute mark), the band offers a wide assortment of styles, including post-rock, ethereal interludes, and, the above-mentioned sludge, which comes to the fore on the excellent “Eventide.” Here, the band is able to mix solemn atmospheric jaunts with the blunt-force of black metal, and, the sonic girth of sludge. It’s a caustic mix.
Throughout Litany, it was pondered by this scribe as to when the bottom would fall out from underneath Dead to a Dying World. It seemed like there were too many wry influences thrown into the pot just for the sake of it, but alas, the cohesion and flow that gradually builds should erase such doubts. Litany is a challenging listen, no doubt, but more importantly, it casts Dead to a Dying World in a different light than some of their contemporaries. A band to watch.