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Lord Dying - "Summon The Faithless" (CD)

Lord Dying - "Summon The Faithless" CD cover image

"Summon The Faithless" track listing:

1. In a Frightful State of Gnawed Dismemberment (5:10)
2. Summoning the Faithless (4:43)
3. Greed Is Your Horse (4:41)
4. Descend into External (4:53)
5. Dreams of Mercy (4:58)
6. Perverse Osmosis (4:03)
7. Water Under a Burning Bridge (4:52)
8. What Is Not...Is (6:33)

Reviewed by on August 2, 2013

"This is a debut that does very little with the little they have, putting so much emphasis on the riffs that almost everything else suffers by default."

Do you enjoy a good riff or two? Who doesn’t? Lord Dying loves the riff, like any other sludge metal band. The power of a great riff is what “Summon the Faithless” banks on, and it’s enough to get by. It's certainly not the Matt Pike-esque vocals or the pointless lyrics that raise this album up. This is a debut that does very little with the little they have, putting so much emphasis on the riffs that almost everything else suffers by default.

These guys have performed with well-known talent like Yob and Black Cobra, though they seem to be big fans of High on Fire. The drenched-in-heavy guitar tones serve their role well. Most songs have a lead break, though it’s more of a diversion than anything spectacular. The lyrics are repetitive and don’t say anything insightful, though the vocals are put on the back burner on a few songs for more riffage.

There’s been a lot of hoopla throughout this review about the riffs, but that’s the foundation of Lord Dying’s sound. How is that different from any other band? It’s because the riffs are what a listener will remember by the end of the 40 minutes; it’s what to talk about with another metal head when they ask, “Bro, have you heard that new Lord Dying record?” Moments like two minutes into “In a Frightful State of Gnawed Dismemberment” and the groove laced into the guitars during the title track are memorable traits to the album.

However, there isn’t much else going on through these eight songs. On occasion, they’ll break into a quicker tempo, as they do on “Descend into External.” That song also contains a stand-out melodic guitar section, something the band doesn’t do enough. Closer “What Is Not...Is” seems to have a grander scheme in mind with its almost-seven minute running length, but over a quarter of that is wasted on endless feedback that fades away to reveal a hollow finish.

There's nothing wrong with loving the riff, but when other aspects of the band come off as inferior due to it, that’s a problem. Lord Dying can write a mean song, as long as you avoid digging into the lyrics too much. There’s just not much that hasn’t been heard by a dozen other bands, who have the advantage of more experience and better songwriting. “Summon the Faithless” gets the sludge metal treatment down, but doesn’t leave much else worth sharing.

Highs: Quality riffs throughout, inspired faster tempos break up the sludgy sound, fans of High on Fire will find a lot to like

Lows: Beyond the riffs, not much else going for the band, lyrics are repetitive and lacking in value, songwriting is not as sharp as it should be

Bottom line: Lord Dying loves the riff, and it's just enough to get them through their otherwise average debut album.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)