Lord Dying
Clandestine Transcendence

I have seen Portland Oregon’s Lord Dying’s name float around the metal scene for at least a decade now.  Never heard them in my life and they have three prior albums: Summon the Faithless in 2013, Poisoned Altars in 2015, and Mysterium Tremendum in 2019.  Suffice it to say this reviewing bastid now must go and check out their prior releases, because Clandestine Transcendence is an excellent album that encompasses doom, sludge, death metal, and just an all-around bombastic metal album.

12 songs in just under an hour, so pull up your suspenders and get ready.  “The Universe Is Weeping” begins with some atmospheric parts and then picks up with the speed, almost having a NWOBHM tinge to it with the galloping moments.  Erik Olson is one of the guitarists and is the singer – with a throaty gravelly voice.  He sounds great and the guitar melodies on this song remind me of the excellent Ian Blurton’s Future Now, since there are some tinges of 70’s metal.  The clean vocals come in at the 4 minute mark and they work well.

The song is over before you know it and “I Am Nothing I Am Everything” comes smashing through with Kevin Swartz showcasing some excellent drum skills.  Great drum rolls and the song has excellent melodies and then some of the deeper register vocals have a bit of a death metal flair to them.  Alyssa Mocere provides the bass guitar and you can hear the bass strumming and Chris Evans adds creative guitar riffing as the second guitarist.  I imagine the vocalist in a long black cape singing these lyrics, for some odd reason.  The mid-section has a build-up that you think is going to end, but that pattern keeps going on, not used to hearing something like that, but at the 4.08 section the scorching guitar solo comes rip roaring in and the excellent drums continue.  A short while later we are greeted to blast beats – I was not expecting that, but they are extreme and getting into gravity blasting even.

“Unto Becoming” has a lot of clean vocals and the more I listen closer to these guys they have an eclectic sound that is kinda all over the place, like Hammers of Misfortune, whom I really enjoy.  Lord Dying one minute are playing some stoner 70’s riff, then blasting away, then some death metally growls, then more eclectic metal with the clean vocals and this song has a lot of progressive elements, with some Lamb of God styled growly vocals.  This is a super fun song with some excellent double bass moments as well.

“Dancing on the Emptiness” is the longest song at over 8 minutes it starts with jumpy drums, clean vocals, excellent bass guitar lines and epic guitar melodies.  The vocals are rather excellent and much of these parts are poly-rhythmic in nature with how they are crafted.  The music seems pretty complicated to play, however, it is seamless and beyond catchy.  There are so many soaring vocal moments and killer double bass sections.  There are atmospheric and softer sections and some elements on this song remind me of Dream Theatre as well.  The vocals are extraordinary on this song.  “Soul Metamorphosis” has some fun guitar melodies going on in the beginning and the drums over these moments are neat, and then the growly vocals come in and the song thrashes along, very thrashy indeed with the punishing drums and the guitar riffing getting heavier, then the song slows down – ethereal in nature and nice creative drum work.  Some heavy sludge comes forward and the vicious Lamb of God-styled growly vocals return and this is yet another song with so many parts crammed into 5 and a half minutes and never once boring.

Lord Dying’s Clandestine Transcendence is a fantastic metal album. With elements of Hammers of Misfortune, Manilla Road, Cirith Ungol, Lamb of God just to give you an idea of what to expect, still Lord Dying are fresh, and original.  The production on this album allows for all the instruments to be heard without overtaking another section and it sounds organic too.  The varied vocal arrangements and tones are a true highlight for me and I am definitely going to check out their prior albums.  I love this damn album – killer stuff!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
January 30th, 2024

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