Released: 2017, Rise Above Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
If art is a form of catharsis, LOVE FROM WITH THE DEAD is the equivalent of an emotional exorcism.
The sophomore album from (don’t call them a) doom supergroup With the Dead pushes the boundaries of its predecessor and the tolerance of its audience. On the extremity scale of albums that Lee Dorrian has been associated with over the course of a multi-decade career, this one might be right behind FETO. It’s a slow moving, tumultuously traditional doom record that echoes back to their debut and the earliest output from their Cathedral/Electric Wizard alumni, but the saturation of sub-basement tuned guitar distortion and Dorrian’s vocal approach sap much of the enjoyment out of the procession.
In the press surrounding LOVE FROM WITH THE DEAD, Dorrian has commented that these songs were born out of period of personal toil; man, does it ever show. Somebody needs to send this guy some flowers, or maybe a nice handwritten note. Songs like “Isolation”, “Cocaine Phantoms”, and “Anemia” stagger forward like hulking, wounded beasts, and their bare bones structure makes their presentation all the more effective. But throughout much of the album, Dorrian sounds like he’s not so much singing, but yelling at the neighborhood kids to get off his lawn. Given the guy’s vocal dexterity, it’s kind of a drag to hear him bark out this kind of monotonous delivery. And Tim Bagshaw’s riffs are solid, but they’re under a blanket of hyper distortion that kills a lot of the enjoyment.
I mean, I get it – this is an expression of the pain that inspired it, but LOVE FROM WITH THE DEAD feels more like a missed opportunity from a band that’s capable of so much more. Now that’s something to really be depressed about.