The Year of Our Lord
Dead to You

Massachusetts’ The Year of Our Lord was a victim of bad timing. Their debut and only full length self titled album was released in 2002, a time when melodic death metal was becoming stale and saturated and US bands simple weren’t supposed to be playing this style of metal. So like other US acts plying this style at the time (The Fifth Sun, Beyond the Embrace, Enforsaken) the band got overlooked, lumped in with the countless other In Flames wanna be clones and promptly broke up.

So in the tail end of 2009, former members Nick & Scott Heigelmann got with Willowtip and Peter Rutcho of Damage Studios to release this well deserved re-issue that comprises of the self titled debut, along with 1999s The Frozen Divide EP as well as 4 new/unreleased tracks. All of it re-mastered and remixed. And what you have is 22 tracks and over an hour and a half of quality melodic death metal that was ahead of its time for a US act.

The first disc is the 2002 debut in its entirety, and while I can’t say how it sounds compared to the original release, what the material consists of is 13 tracks of well done, moody and occasionally reflective (read: acoustics, interludes like “Horror Hotel” and “Nightlark”, clean vocals and keyboards), melodic death metal. All of it runs the gamut from mid paced, moody introspective numbers (“Fire Skates the Water”, “The Gones of Astria”, “Eventide”) to the expected melodic, solo filled, galloping European inspired riffage (“Dead to You”, “Wombdisease”, “The Hunt”) and tracks that mix it all (“Hollowing of a Quiet Man”, standouts “Rust and Ashes” and “Kismet”). All of it well produced, and with enough semblance of razor sharp riffs, solos and vocal duality to make it a record that sounds as good as any of the similar stuff being released nowadays, but without the metalcore fluff and trendiness.

The second disc contains the 6 tracks that comprised The Frozen Divide EP and 4 unreleased tracks (from the bands brief reunion in 2006), all re-mastered and re-mixed and seem to be a little harsher and more melodic black metal based with a colder Dissection/Naglfar-ish influence and less reflective moments (only “The Frozen Divide” has some mellow moments), but still rife with Dark Tranquillity –isms, and being released in 1999, I can’t fathom how the band didn’t blow up before the melo- death melt down early in the 00s. Tracks like “The Divine Poison” and “Season of Suffocation” seem to sound as good as anything coming out of Europe at the time.

Based on the 4 unreleased tracks (one is an intro), The Year of Our Lord didn’t suffer at all from their hiatus as they once again deliver some superbly written melodic death metal and it’s a pity they didn’t get to deliver even more, as “110th Street Nightmare” and “The Year of Out Lord” look to be the best material the band came up with, and with the scene being so ‘core based now, it would have been nice to see a US based, pure melo death band arise up and get some attention.

In all, over 90 minutes of excellent music that shows Willowtip has even better taste than everyone already thought and a re-issue that’s worth every penny to hear one of the US more short lived and under rated acts.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
March 19th, 2010

Comments

  1. Commented by: LoftComplication

    I loved this record when it came out, and I listened to it fairly recently as well. I always wondered at what had become of them.


  2. Commented by: Stiffy

    Yeah this is good stuff. Nastier than the other bands mentioned during that time though.


  3. Commented by: KurtMuscle

    when i first saw there was a review for a “the year of our lord” album,i got really stoked. i was thinking that perhaps this was a loooooooooong overdue new album. then i found out it was a reissue. kind of a bummer but that’s ok. i thought their only full-length was absolutely killer. kudos to them for writing an excellent album.


  4. Commented by: bando

    Great album, I had never heard of them until this release and I’m glad I did.


  5. Commented by: Coles

    Its been a while since I listened to the full length, I hated it when it came out because of the production that Steve Austin did, it sounded thin and weak. The remix/master definitely beefed it up and brought out the rhythms better.


  6. Commented by: Dimaension X

    I have their original debut (produced by former local hero Steve Austin of Today is the Day in his studio that was all of twenty minutes away from my house!) I may have to get this just to compare the difference between Steve’s mixes and the new ones. I always thought the original sounded pretty good; not like Andy Sneap or Fred Nordstrom production, but still good considering who did it and where.


  7. Commented by: Dimaension X

    …and Avenged Sevenfold would steal the original image of this album cover for their Self-titled album.


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