Dead To A Dying World - Elegy
Profound Lore Records
Sludge, Post-Metal
6 songs (48:58)
Release year: 2019
Profound Lore Records
Reviewed by Goat

Although that band name makes them sound like some sort of deathcore pit machine, Dallas-based septet Dead To A Dying World actually play a weirdly unique form of sludgy doom. You can hear influences from everything from black metal to crust punk throughout, and although they are capable of aural violence the presence of Eva Alridge on viola (also of Sabbath Assembly) adds a uniquely melodic strain of melancholy to the band. The obvious touchstone is My Dying Bride, yet Dead To A Dying World replace the British legends' gothic misery with a hefty dose of Americana, as on the clean-sung intro piece Syzygy where Mike Yeager's almost alt-country vocals sound terrific over an intricate ambient backing. And it helps elevate Elegy from being yet another atmospheric post-sludge album the sorts of which we've heard dozens of times by now, not least since the band are still quite tied to the heavy/light contrasts in songwriting on the three longer pieces here. Each have much to recommend them not least the first in the tracklisting, the eleven-minute The Seer's Embrace, which burns through an effect-laden first part to open up in the lighter sections, the viola coming into its own with the backing vocals to add a genuine, gentle beauty.

From then on however, the best, most impactful pieces tend to be the shorter tracks, too long to be interludes but clearly intended as palate-cleansers between epics. Vernal Equinox is a very different change of pace, almost operatic female vocals over an acoustic, almost chamber music introduction before a touch of doomy heaviness is added - it's more reminiscent of Ihsahn and Ihriel's Peccatum project than anything, and definitely more memorable than the eleven-minute Empty Hands, Hollow Hymns that follows, through no fault of that track's. It has an infectious building call-and-response vocal section between the male and female vocalists (both harsh here) and plenty more of the gorgeous viola, yet it's hard not to feel that the band have already revealed their hand. From that perspective, the closing duo of the vocal-dominated, almost choral Hewn from Falling Water and fourteen-minute outro Of Moss and Stone could have been cut to keep the album extra slim...

Except it's a wonderful closer to the album, slowly building from a beautiful viola-dominated intro to a burst of blackened sludge that suggests the band could incorporate more black metal into their sound as easily as it could the clean female vocals between, like A Forest of Stars if they were Texan instead of from Victorian London. Perhaps it could have been done in less than fourteen minutes (the closing minutes of experimental noise are downright jarring and should definitely have been left on the editor's floor) but it's hard to criticise the band too much for this given the album as a whole comes in under fifty minutes and they generally use the time well. An interesting take on a well-worn formula, Elegy is a solid showcase of Dead To A Dying World's talents.

Killing Songs :
Syzygy, The Seer's Embrace, Of Moss and Stone
Goat quoted 75 / 100
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