With The Dead - With The Dead - (9/10)
Published on October 13, 2015
Dancing with the dead.
The trio constituting the newly formed With The Dead need little introduction. Putting Cathedral to rest in 2013, Rise Above-mastermind Lee Dorrian joined forces with former Electric Wizard and Ramesses axeman Tim Bagshaw and beatmeister extraordinaire Mark Greening, with the goal of creating a dark and massive slab of doom. Unsurprisingly, they have succeeded in their venture; With The Dead is a crushing demonstration from musicians with decades of death and gloom to their names.
When you have Greening and Bagshaw in a studio together, the result seems bound to be oppressive and sinister. Songs such as “The Cross” and particularly “Living With The Dead” carries on the evil psychedelic atmospheres of Ramesses. Bagshaw’s trademark solos are somewhat buried in the wall of sound, but are among his most memorable work since on Let Us Prey. Although Lee Dorrian is usually a hit-or-miss vocalist, his presence on With The Dead is immense, with an aggressive bent that rates as his greatest performance in at least a decade. Add the steady but at times harrowing drums that have become synonymous with Mark Greening, and you have the formula for some fantastic doom metal.
Bagshaw, Greening, and Dorrian looking rather glum after forgetting to take their vitamins.
A decidedly downtempo affair, the various artistic influences of the musicians involved ensures that With The Dead are far from a one-trick pony. The bulk of With The Dead lays musically close to the horroresque atmospheres of Ramesses, while “Nephthys” stands out with a main riff that resembles early Cathedral. It doesn’t quite dip into death-doom territory, but there’s a significant melodic edge to the otherwise bone-chilling heaviness. On the other side of the spectrum, “I Am Your Virus” is a spaced out number with a riff that wouldn’t have been out of place on Dopesmoker, combining Lee Dorrian’s unique delivery with grimy echoes and space-age synths .
With Dorrian leaving the prog-influenced doom rock of latter-day Cathedral behind, Ramesses put on hold, and Greening departing from Electric Wizard for the second time after recording the disappointing Time To Die, it seems that With The Dead has a decent chance of becoming more than a one-off collaboration. Iommi be willing, this could be the beginning of something monstrous yet beautiful. If they all came out of the gate swinging like this, the clichéd label “supergroup” would surely be salvaged. The existence of With The Dead makes the thought of a world without Cathedral and Ramesses (provided it stays dead) a lot more bearable.