"Hymns for the Wicked"

By Earthdog

Fans of Acid Witch, Hooded Menace and other horror-death doom, beware! There is a new band to fire up your bubbling cauldron to, it is Druid Lord from Florida. As far as I am aware of this band has been around for a year or so, so there is not much history to be told except its band members backgrounds. Tony Blakk on vocals and bass came from such bands as Acheron, Apostasy, Diabolic, Serpent Son and Equinox, also ex-Acheron and Equinox is Pete Slate on guitar, his earlier bands also included Incubus, Abhorred Existence and Mythos and drummer Steve Spillers is also a ex-Equinox member. Druid Lord continue in the sickly tradition of bands like Acid Witch, Coffins, and Autopsy so you know what to expect. Druid Lord are one of the best bands I have heard in the horror/death/doom genre. Musically it is pure simplicity most of the time but killer just the same. Lyrically, I will admit it is all a bit goofy but no more cheesy as any other band in the horror doom scene. All the typical trademarks are there... huge riffs that bleed slime and filth, spooky-sounding guitar solos and a strange kind of vocal that is closer to Death Metal than say Acid Witch but it is strangely basic for this kind of band. There's not much in the way of effects so they lack a certain atmosphere at times.

It is a short album, only 8 songs in about 35 minutes so there is not much chance of getting bored here and there is not much variation within the songs so a track by track analysis seems a bit pointless. All the songs are delivered drowning in a sea of putrid slime and pus and if that description didn't make you sick then this album is sure to make you feel a bit queasy. The pace of the songs walk a fine line between Doom Metal and old-school Thrash/Death Metal. Nothing gets fast but they have a vintage Death Metal edge to most of their songs. Most of the songs chug along without plodding and there is some killer riffs along the way. Opening track "Chamber of Ghastly Horror"sets the pace and the tone for the rest of the album and this track is very infectious in a deranged kind of way. Of course their obsession is horror movies mostly from the 70's and 80's and the subject matter of their songs follows the path of that kind of gore and splatter. Sometimes though their lyrics are great, the last track titled "Circling of Vultures" is about a mortally wounded man bleeding to death and the thoughts that run through his mind while he lay there dying. Lyrics like this one are dark and atmospheric... elsewhere ,though, the lyrics range from the typical to pure cheese but like Acid Witch, it is all good morbid fun.

While these horrid tales are kind of simple, there is still great flow to the album to override the basic nature of the songs but I do feel the songs do lack a couple of essential elements to put this above the ranks of other horror-doom acts. While other bands might use a creepy old organ to increase the eerie atmosphere, Druid Lord lack such embellishments so the album does seem to repeat the same formula and vibe repeatedly. They also add acoustic sections in a strange way as they seem to be placed at random without much thought. They don't seem to enhance the songs in the way they should. These are minor complaints on my part as this album still delivers a ghastly dose of crushing doom so I wouldn't dismiss the album just on these points of view. Along with the opening track, "Castle of Count Sadist", "Baron Blood", "Eerie Ways" and the closing tune "Circling of Vultures" are killer tracks but the album as a whole is a total buzz to listen to all the way through. After Hooded Menace and Acid Witch, this band of crazies ranks a close third in the horror-doom stakes at the moment. If you are a sucker for this kind of sick and deranged death/doom, then this is required listening and you've got to love the classic artwork this package features so that is another incentive to buy this disc. It's out on the Horror Pain Gore Death Productions label and they have always been a great and reliable source for this kind of brutal music and this is no exception. Make everyday Halloween with Druid Lord's "Hymns for the Wicked.".........8/10