DOPELORD – Reality Dagger (2021)REVIEW

Maggots shower slowly through the cracks in the ceiling. Yet we go on eating, thrilled by the outsized psychedelic stoner/doom metal trance that lunges across the hall from the claws of Lublin, Poland-based quartet Dopelord. Their latest three song EP continues a decade long tradition of lacing their THC-heavy discography with a potent dose of occult horror themes, psychedelic rock hooks, and their own brand of cloud-sparking, exaggerated Sabbath groove. Consistency is key here as I know I can put on any release from these fellowes and take a deep hit upon gigantic sound, phantasm possessed atmosphere and disturbingly catchy heavy rock influenced pieces, one after another. Digging into their latest EP, ‘Reality Dagger’, no doubt you might’ve heard a hundred bands that converge upon similarly polished status quo within stoner/doom metal yet Dopelord remain one of the most memorably lain curses within the greater grimoire.

A nest of razor wire awaits beneath each window sill. In escape of unseen evil, and falling to my slow-bleeding n’ howling death, I hear this wedging mantra burning through my mind. “All things that are lifting me up / Become things that are dragging me down. All things that are dragging me down / Become things that are lifting me up” a phrase set there by a surge of screaming death-doomed adrenaline or, whatever daimon might’ve possessed Dopelord to growl their way into the nigh ~11 minute stalk of “Reality Dagger”. This extended title track has quickly become one of my favorite pieces from the band to date as it stands out from what I’ve long described as an early Kadavar-meets-Monolord sound — Stadium sized fuzz and ominous occult rock hooks worthy of that ’98-’04 sweet spot Electric Wizard found their peaking moments within. They’re still in this wheelhouse but well, for the sake of my own redundant thoughts, Dopelord can write a catchy song. None of this should be major surprise to folks who’d loved their second album (‘Sign of the Devil‘, 2020) which I’d reviewed just as favorably, yet ‘Reality Dagger’ seems to indicate these guys have more to say, more to do, a broader set of skills to hone, and plenty more riffs to doom over the world with.

We reanimated this corpse, to kill you. As the blood-drained and razor mutilated face of the dead arisen stalks forward in the shadows of the rectory the remaining ~11 minutes of this EP split into two considerable pieces, “Dark Coils” slugs through the gravitas of its intro towards strong vocal harmonies and a rolling ‘The Art of Self-Defense’-era High on Fire sized tumble to end the piece with a bit of fear in its eyes. As much as the title track stuck with me it was probably “Your Blood” that felt like the biggest point of growth or, differentiation, as the most swinging psychedelic doom effort of the bunch. Maybe I’ve been stuck in dissonant extreme metal Hell and ritualistic doom flatlining for too long but I found myself seriously appreciating that these guys make a damned song out of each piece, a statement worth remembering for more than vibe or trendy modular presence. ‘Reality Dagger’ is a prime reminder of all that Dopelord do, their broadening oeuvre and some smart indication of what they’ll do in the future as they continue to cultivate this finest sound. Between the always stunning render from Haldor Grunberg (Satanic Audio) and a brilliant Suspiria (1977) themed cover art these folks continue their fine thread of unpretentious yet enchanting stoner doom that sets exactly in the right spot for my own taste. A high recommendation.

High recommendation (80/100)

Rating: 8 out of 10.
TITLE:Reality Dagger
LABEL(S):Green Plague Records
RELEASE DATE:February 19th, 2021
BUY & LISTEN:Bandcamp [Feb. 19th]
GENRE(S):Stoner/Doom Metal,
Psychedelic Doom Metal

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