Doom is all around us. The optimism of a new millennium has steadily disintegrated. The light at the end of the tunnel turned out to be a burning tower block and the powers-that-be are dancing in the smoldering ruins. Humanity is eating itself and we’re all terminally fucked. As a result, it makes perfect sense that the emergence of British doom metal mavens With The Dead would strike a dissonant chord with so many people. Formed in 2014 by former Cathedral/Napalm Death frontman and Rise Above Records boss Lee Dorrian and ex-Electric Wizard/Ramesses bassist/guitarist Tim Bagshaw, the band coalesced in a monetary burst of spontaneity and shared fury, resulting in the release of their eponymous debut album in 2015: one of that year’s most widely acclaimed releases and a welcome shot in the arm for fans of merciless, unrelenting sonic despair.
Hell-bent on staking a further claim to be doom metal’s most intense and remorseless practitioners, With The Dead have now completed work on their second album, “Love From With The Dead”, which will be released September 22nd on Rise Above Records. Comprising tracks recorded during two separate sessions with celebrated studio guru Jaime Gomez Arellano, the new material represents the first fruits of the band’s recently retooled line-up. Joining Lee and Tim are bassist Leo Smee and drummer Alex Thomas, who replaces the departed Mark Greening.
For those who flinched at the sheer, unforgiving brutality of With The Dead’s first record, the songs on “Love From With The Dead” are liable to cause major emotional trauma. Darker, denser, more despondent and sickeningly heavy in numerous senses of the word, this is an album that re-establishes doom as a genre that embraces the extreme and not just some cozy, nostalgic reimagining of the early ’70s. “Love From With The Dead” grimly extinguishes the light of hope and hammers home the hatred and futility that plagues our brief and brittle lives.
“The thinking was that the first LP was meant to be the heaviest we could possibly make, but then what do you next?” Lee muses. “Well, the only thing you can do is make the next one even heavier. So that was the ambition and the intention, to make it even more crushing. But to be able to do that you have to be crushed yourself. This last couple of years have been quite soul-destroying. There’s been a lot of personal shit going on, and during this whole process so much fucking bad shit has happened in my personal life and other people’s personal lives. Everything you hear on this LP, the angst is very real. I’ve never felt so disillusioned with life and the world around me, not since the first Cathedral album,” says Lee Dorrian.
He continues, “I’m 50 next year and you’re supposed to mellow out when you get older, but why?” Lee asks. “I don’t feel like mellowing out. The world’s getting worse, the atmosphere is getting heavier, people treat each other like shit and there’s so much negativity, how are you supposed to chill out when all that’s going on? I’m in a privileged position to be able to be in a band like this, so why fuck around? The band’s called With The Dead and it’s a doom band, why would you want to mellow out? It’s got to be pure nihilism or nothing.”