Underground death metal ‘ex-members of’ nepotism is what initially drew me to the death/doom crunch of Druid Lord. The band originally featured more-or-less the entire line-up of Equinox, a black/death metal band that took a lot of influence from Celtic Frost and Dream Death and filtered it through a mix of black metal and early Obituary filthiness. Equinox remains one of my favorite black metal bands if not only for their debut full-length ‘Return to Mystery‘ and Druid Lord’s debut had some of that same magic happening. ‘Hymns for the Wicked’ was slow, claustrophobic death metal that succeeded in slow-motion mosh riffing and really wasn’t a pure death/doom album as often as it was just a very good heavy metal influenced death metal record. ‘Grotesque Offerings’ plants its foot more firmly into both doom riff and death metal territory and implants some deserved Hooded Menace comparisons in the process.
That is to say there are plentiful Finnish death metal influences alongside classic horror themes and big-titted doom riffing; all of the ingredients that made albums like ‘Never Cross the Dead’ so exciting are fully here. ‘Grotesque Offerings’ wanes between Amorphis‘ ‘Karelian Isthmus’ chugging and watery lead guitars that weren’t fully there on their first full-length in 2010. I might be less surprised by this if I’d paid attention to this band’s numerous splits and EPs over the last eight years. If anything Druid Lord pull out death metal riffs easier than their contemporaries and put much more of their own spin upon the style. I can’t sit here and identify riffs they’ve taken directly from other bands the same way I can with Hooded Menace’s latest, which is largely only forgivable because I love that band’s influences as well as their sound. I hear this band of oldies modernizing their palate while still drawing from the fuel of old that has driven their songwriting for years, much of which I’m sure comes from Tony Blakk’s love of classic doom and death metal alike.
A full hour is a lot to ask for slow-motion death/doom and while I am perfectly steeled to put an album like this on repeat for days, shaving a couple songs off the thing wouldn’t have been such a loss. If anything a quick 7″ with “Into the Crypts/Creature Feature” would have been a nice pack-in bonus or promo by itself for this album as a whole. If “too much of a good thing” is all I have to complain about then I’m not upset about this record at all. I think what will surprise folks who were already familiar with this band is that the changes to their sound over the years don’t necessarily make the comparisons to bands like Temple of Void and Hooded Menace easier. If anything Blakk’s undercurrent of Tom G. Warrior spirit lends a true metal power to Druid Lord that is both more original and listenable than comparable artists. If you’re looking for tracks to sell you on the album, I’d sample “Last Drop of Blood” or “Black Candle Seance” for an introduction and then spin it in full if you want more. It is a ripping beast of a death/doom album with a long playtime and an original, well-developed style.
|Released||January 19, 2018|
|BUY/LISTEN on their Bandcamp!||Follow Druid Lord on Facebook|
Strapped to the torture wall. 4.25/5.0
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