Druid Lord – Relics of the Dead

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For over a decade, the U.S. death/doom metal act Druid Lord lurked like a ghoulish figure in the underground catacombs of Florida. The band made their debut album “Hymns for the Wicked” in 2010 and with that, founding members Pete Slate (guitars) and Tony Blakk (vocals, bass) attempted to blend the grisly twists of death and doom metal in the old school fashion. My personal acquaintance with the band was in 2018 when the sophomore “Grotesque Offerings” caught me by surprise. After taking a four year long break, they made a fine achievement on the third album “Relics for the Dead”. Druid Lord takes its inspiration from the classic horror movie flicks and the songs are processed in the slow formulaic style of mid-tempo. Therefore the songs have turned out quite appealing. The sluggish and gloomy aura of creepy grunts and the meaty death metal riffs are seemingly horrifying.  

The Floridian quartet brings the chills with the songs prone to slower tempos whereas the lead guitar has a certain range of utilizing the atmosphere of horror. The unease of the creepy organ on the opening track “Relics of the Dead” churns some slow-burn doomy riffs, dragging you slowly into the darkest pits of hell. The drums engage in occasional blast beats and double bass when the slow-paced tempo is joined by the heavy death metal riffs. The guitars capture an old school tone bringing some bands like Cianide and Celtic Frost to mind. Druid Lord has developed a quite unique brand of death/doom metal. Their taste for conjoining the obscure tone and somber melodies creates a doomy feel throughout the duration of forty-one minutes. 

Thirteen Days of Death” follows in the same creepy tone, the rhythm guitars are powerfully riveting, spellbinding the listener with the eerie guitar riffs. The solos are professionally layered with the drums drudging brutally and midway through the track the drums pick up the pace. Druid Lord has established itself as a cult classic band, their songs clearly have an old-school sludgy sound. The use of the organ instrument really stands out, dense riffing and monstrous grunts also add memorability to the songs. “Relics of the Dead” offers some crude death metal riffing that will remind you of the early nineties era, Pete Slate and Chris Wicklein‘s riffs are triggered with crushing procession and the drums are struck by Elden Santos, who plays a big role in providing dynamics. 

Immolated Into Ashes” pummels slow crushing beats and the guitars inflict slow and groovy tunes. Druid Lord portrays many facades through their strong musicianship. The drums utilize precise bludgeoning even though not all the songs follow in the same musical dimension. The song structure has many eerie twists where the guitars, drums, and vocals nail primitive and sludgy sounds of death metal. There are plenty of slow sections in the songs that perfectly present slow-burning composition. “Relics of the Dead” delineates the gory images from the classic horror tales. The skillful talent of the guitarists embodies a perfect backdrop to the slow dimensional sections. Although the band had found the ideal notion of equilibrium with their sophomore, the third album is perfectly balanced between the slower and fast tempos. 

Festering Tombs” draws much inspiration from the likes of Autopsy and Cianide, the rudimentary tone of this song is particularly layered in mass layers of sludgy doom riffs. What gives the album a distinctive feature is the slowness of the tempos and yet when the drums shift the pace, the lead guitars build-up to the brooding atmosphere of menace. Anyone who isn’t familiar enough with the old school death/doom bands will mistakenly think that “Relics of the Dead” was released back in the time of the nineties. The marching pace of the drums on the monolithic track ”Monarch Macabre” sweeps in the somber atmosphere of the rhythm guitars.

Dreary grunts and gloomy riffs drift out from the cavernous depths, Druid Lord on the third album prove to be adepts of their craftsmanship as they have clearly opted for a visceral and fine master class in the style of death/doom metal. Dark brooding riffs and low guttural growls are draped in somber tones of the lead guitars, as the pacing continues, the atmospheric keyboard passage takes you to the desolate landscapes of the black funeral. The third album from the Floridian quartet smears dramatic landscapes of grim horrors and sorrowful crescendos of theatrical appeal, this is highly recommended if you like Cianide, Hooded Menace, and Autopsy.

Release Date: 21st, January 2022
Label: Hells Headbangers Records
Tracklisting:

  1. Relics of the Dead
  2. Thirteen Days of Death
  3. Mangled as the Hideous Feed
  4. Nightside Conjuring
  5. Immolated Into Ashes
  6. Festering Tombs
  7. Monarch Macabre
  8. Ethereal Decay

REVIEW SCORE

  • Music8/10
  • Vocals/Lyrics9/10
  • Production9/10
  • Artwork9/10
  • Originality8/10
8.6Druid Lord on the third album proves to be adepts of their craftsmanship as they have clearly opted for a visceral and fine master class in the style of death/doom metal.
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