Thursday 16 October 2014

Lord - Alive in Golgotha EP (Review)

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 4/9/2014
Label: Heavy Hounds Records

‘Alive in Golgotha’ DD track listing:

1). We Own the Storms (04:27)
2). What You May Call the Devil is Amongst Us (05:55)
3). With Reaching Hooves (05:06)
4). Golgotha (05:07)

The Band:

Steve Kerchner | Vocals
Will Rivera | Guitars, Vocals
Stephen Sullivan | Drums, Bass (Has now left)


I first heard of this band while searching for Chief Keef records to steal (well I'm not paying for them…), I chanced across their unbelievably grimy album ‘Chief’ and was hooked by guitarist Will Rivera's ultimately dirty and uniquely unreasonable sound. The guy has a knack for taking laid back and simple blues riffs and twisting them into serpentine doom monsters that at times rival the sludgiest of lords. That combined with Steve Sullivan's mad battery attack drives this moonshine ride straight to hell with a barbaric melodic/rhythmic twin assault. Their 4 track EP is a short 21 minute run through all their costume changes, from chicken-fried southern slouch to damn-near-d-beat, that Jay from called "so damn Mason Dixon molested" and no way could I top that line.

The kickoff lyric of the song ‘We Own the Storms’: "Whether we weather the storm or the storm weathers me" sums the release up succinctly: a typically downtrodden doom sound competing with a relentless breakneck energy, clearly lifted from excellent classic thrashing punk.  Frontman Steve Kerchner's homicidal howling, from grimly growled "I'm so fucking tired" to wordless wailing fury, evoke someone that initially seems to have a grip but progressively loses control until completely coming unhinged. It builds in intensity and aggression up to a slick, grooving, face-to-the-floor head bobbing bridge, before a pummeling final thirty second break down into the horns in the air thrasher main riff one last time.

A hammering, throbbing beat opens the second tune with a droning hypnotic wave of churning guitar-slime and impure tribal drumming. This has the clear motive of build-up, as the sewer thrash returns quickly and blasts the brains out of any hope of hypnosis with an absolutely massive head banger riff. Twists and turns abound as several deep-south stompers intertwine with the narcotic intro, into a loud but occasionally aimless rocker. It almost sounds like they just threw some leftover mismatched riffs together and called it a day, but they just happened to use some immense, reckless riffs and got lucky!

‘With Reaching Hooves’ almost begins in a similar trance-inducing vein before the bottom drops out and the shrieking begins. Up-tempo sludge alternating with fast thrash, collapses into straight-ahead rock and roll dirt, and a melancholy solo with a fucking deliciously filthy tone, before the alternation returns with maniac drums bashing out the tune.

The final song of this entirely-too-short slab, gets at a particularly experimental element of their sound, that sees the combination of fast and slow, take on a skewed and subdued character. Bringing to bear the ferocity of bands like Tombs onto a new "we traded all our whiskey for prescription painkillers" almost-ambient angle that actually works incredibly well with the ragged dixie thrash, and gives it a haunting quality. A few seconds of gargantuan guttural doom strangles the life out of the EP and I just KEEP pressing play on that last one.

Another destructive venting from LORD, if they keep up the experimentation this band could really be something else. Unfortunately Steve Sullivan is no longer in the band, which removes the entire rhythm section of this record (he also played bass in the studio), but I'm looking forward to the evolution new players Ol’Scratch/Palkoski drummer Skip Marrimow and bassist Christ Dugay will bring to future endeavours. Big shoes to fill! I also rarely notice artwork when I'm not holding the vinyl release in my hand but I felt the need to point out the exceptional work by Chris Lang. Never heard of the guy but I'll be paying attention. Right up my alley, this.

Electrifying band, but a damn difficult Google search…you'd be surprised at how many Christian rock videos came up in a search for "Lord - ‘Chief’.

Words by: James Harris

‘Alive in Golgotha’ is out now

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