Virginian stoner/doom metal band Druglord have always relied on a monstrous sound to drive their Electric Wizard fueled doom train. With help from Windhand mastermind Garret Morris at the helm it’d seem that the exorcism away from sludgy early 2000’s post-‘Dopethrone’ doom is making steady-but-slow progress beyond. ‘New Day Dying’ finds this Richmond band relying less and less on guitar tone alone. With some increasing focus on songwriting taking their sound beyond mountains of fuzzy quakes, repetition creates stagnating movements that continue to plague some of their song structures. This is far from unusual, and exists for the sake of psychedelic value, but this time around Druglord bring some genuine heavy metal interest along the way to pull the listener’s boots out of the sonic muck they create.
Without downplaying the absolute hammer of Tommy Hamilton‘s guitar tone I’d say it is still a three mile island shy of the nuclear bombs set off by ‘Vænir‘; Like Monolord the tendency is for Druglord to take that nuke and wander a bit further than they need to from a central idea in the name of stoned inspiration. “Rot of the Earth” is an excellent example of this, as it starts out jogging at an inspired pace until the final three minutes merely dissolve into meaningless clobbering motions and snarling. Hamilton‘s vocals briefly shine as much as his simpler riff compositions, landing on a tone somewhere in between Phil Swanson (Seamount) and Matt Pike (High on Fire) but those special moments (“Blood and Body”) are few and far between as Side B does next to nothing to keep up with Side A.
As much as I live for huge doom riffs and a mammoth guitar tone Druglord have yet to do anything above (or below) standard with their sound. As such, I can still recommend their second album to sludge and stoner doom metal fanatics because it’ll be instantly palatable for folks who still melt under its particular wall of sound. Though I found myself inspired by my initial listens of ‘New Day Dying’ there were no real standout moments for my own taste beyond the already mentioned tracks. I’d recommend those as preview for the full release with a full recommendation reserved for the stoner/doom obsessed.
Grievous harm and equal penance. 3.0/5.0
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