With The Dead – “With The Dead” (Rise Above Records)
Bring out the dead. As if the dark days of the Black Death revisited England’s green and pleasant lands once again, one of doom metal’s greatest alliances has recently been forged into this possessed release from cult label Rise Above. Those of you who remember Electric Wizard back in their early days will no doubt be familiar with the Dorset shire duo of bassist Tim Bagshaw (also a current member of Serpentine Path, Ramesses) and drummer Mark Greening (Ramesses) whose brute heavy rumblings leveled many a live show with their bowel shaking sound. Well they’re back with the same thing – even more so perhaps on the aptly named With The Dead. But what’s showstopping is that on vocals they have the doom legend of Lee Dorrian (Cathedral, Napalm Death – and of course owner of Rise Above)!!! Together these veterans have created yet more quintessential doom to add to their legendary status. Good brethren, do not mistake this for other ‘super groups’ of well known musicians having a go at some doom – messrs Bagshaw, Greening and Dorrian are the masters, not the students and what they have achieved here is bringing what Sabbath initially created into modernity with passion. With Bagshaw handling all guitars – Lord have mercy – now it’s not just his beastly bottom end bass that my suffering speakers have to contend with but also a foul, ultra down tuned guitar basking in reverb sludging all over the place. Greening of course, has to follow on with his own dull, mammoth heavy drumming with a snare so muffled it hardly makes a difference when he starts pounding his toms – given these two sound like a five piece should give you an idea of the booming sound devastation to hand! Dorrian, for his part, has his voice perfectly on the pulse of deep and way beyond songs like ‘Crown Of Burning Stars’, ‘Living With The Dead’ and ‘Screams From My Own Grave’, echoing their grimness with his own raw style whilst at other mustier moments taking a more haunting specter type tone – perfection in essence. I simply cannot praise this album enough and certainly hope this isn’t a one off. Without a doubt this is Doom metal’s album of the year.