“With The Dead”

By Dr. Abner Mality

You say you want HEAVY? You got it! With The Dead is an improbable new band created by the merger of two of the world’s heaviest acts, Cathedral and Electric Wizard. Long time fans of doom metal might need a change of underwear just contemplating this band. Well, it’s not a dream…With The Dead unites Lee Dorrian, the longtime frontman of Cathedral (R.I.P.) with Mark Greening and Tim Bagshaw, the rhythm section for Electric Wizard during what many consider that band’s most classic period. There have been some very bitter things said between these two factions over the years, but apparently time heals all wounds, resulting in With the Dead.
There is no doubt these dudes are capital letter HEAVY. The low tuned guitar and bass racket crushes in the best fashion of Wizard’s “Dopethrone” and also Cathedral at its heaviest. Expect little of the proggier side of Cathedral from these undead gentlemen and not much of Electric Wizard’s psychedelic freakouts either. This is brutal doom riffery erected on the heaviest of foundations. “Screams From My Own Grave” is as gut-churning a slab of doom as you are likely to hear this year. And the other five tracks here are not far behind.

At first, I was thrilled and overjoyed listening to the pummeling delivered by “Crown of Burning Stars” and “Living With The Dead”. I still am, but further listenings kind of brought me to the realization that With The Dead is maybe a little too basic for their own good. Some tricks and curveballs here and there might make for a more interesting and longer lasting listening experience.  I know Dorrian (whose vocals here will surely please any Cathedral fan) has a hunger for the unexpected and when Bagshaw and Greening did their Ramesses project, they were also known to shake things up. Perhaps further efforts from With The Dead will bring this more to the fore.
As it is, anyone who loves truly crushing and oppressive doom metal in the best tradition of Electric Wizard and Cathedral can surely add With The Dead to their shopping cart (or coffin, as it were).