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DEAD TO A DYING WORLD


DEAD TO A DYING WORLD 

"Litany"

By Lord Randall

Ah, Texas metal or, for that matter, Texas music. Having spent a lot of time in Texas over the years, be it WILLIE NELSON, RIGOR MORTIS, BILLY JOE SHAVER or BAHIMIRON, there's something undefinably “Texas” about the bands from the Lone Star State. 

 "Litany" opens with a study in What Not To Do for bands who want to make a mark anywhere except the hammock section of your tighty-whities. From blatantly off-time drumming (which I'm sure they'd want you to believe is “avant-garde”) to the lazier-than-me-on-a-Sunday-morning phrasing of the guitars in 16+-minute opener 'The Hunt Eternal', the entire exercise is a war between saccharine and sublime, the former winning, and leaving the listener the loser. The “sublime” - and the part that makes 'The Hunt Eternal' such a failure – is that softer portions, especially the vocal harmonies during those more subdued sections, show heaps of promise. It's only when DTADW stumbles into metal territory that the originality gets chucked out the window. Case in point: 'Cicatrix'. I can't remember the last time my opinion on a band has swung from one side to the other as between 'The Hunt Eternal' and the esoteric, ethereal 'Cicatrix'. As at home on a NEBELHEXE or INCREDIBLE STRING BAND album as anything, 'Cicatrix' succeeds on all fronts, perfect music for the nights just before crisp Autumn falls to cutting Winter. 'Eventide' is far from groundbreaking, and the chord progression of certain sections bring to mind a bit too easily (yet very unexpectedly) ZED YAGO's 'Pilgrimage'. The good exceeds the bad here, though, as well, and 'Beneath The Loam' is exquisite when the melodic-BM parts aren't sneaking in and mucking things up. 'Sick & Sunder' returns us to the same world as 'Cicatrix', gently leading us to album finale 'Narcissus', which again – seems to be a common problem in DTADW-land – finds its glory tarnished by cheese-filled BM reminiscent of that late '90s-early Naughties melodicism all the kids were watering down their blackness with. 

On the whole, despite the bad taste left in my mouth by a good portion of "Litany", I'll be back. This review was written during my third listen, and I have my sneaking suspicions this might just be a grower. Time will tell.