Dead To A Dying World – Litany Review + Footage
Litany is the second full-length from Dallas’ Dead to a Dying World, who continue to blend together their diverse influences into a unique hybrid sound. Blackened crust walks side by side with post rock, and topping it all is the towering doom/sludge-induced weight that they awaken. Their self-titled album was a great start in their career, but now they are capitalizing on that with a record that is more a inspired and in-depth exploration of their music, spanning over seventy minutes.
The band wastes no time, and they grab you by the throat very quickly with the riffology of “The Hunt Eternal,” signalling a move towards a black metal outlook, even though the overall appearance of the song has more of a crust vibe to it. That is the aspect of Dead To A Dying World that comes forth when they need more aggression and when they want to really dig the knife in, something that they do brilliantly later on in the opening song. A similar approach is undertaken at moments when that sort of outbreak is required, something that occurs multiple times in the closing track of the album, “Narcissus.” The way in which the band structures these blackened explosions is really something, and completely shattering, especially in the latter track. Then there are parts where a blackened attitude is mutated in parts that feature more of the prevalent crust sound with some mid-tempo moments in “Beneath The Loam,” even though it seems like an outbreak is always around the corner.
Release Date: August 2015
The other side of the coin for the more direct and brutal side of Dead To A Dying World is their doom/sludge mentality, and the band does make great use of that sound, navigating successfully through a number of different incarnations. The most towering and imposing personification comes with the opening song, resulting in complete devastation, but from that point on, the band experiments with a few different aspects. First there is a turn towards the more old-school aura in parts of “The Hunt Eternal,” giving a different flavour to the already varied musical palette of the band. Then there is the almost doom/death moments of “Eventide” feeling like a fucking punch to the stomach, and even more surprising, with a slightly majestic touch. That makes the doom-enhanced post rock side of “Beneath The Loam” even more interesting, with the band slowing down the tempo and creating a very interesting pathway through their music. This part is varied, with some intense outbreaks and a collision of black metal with post rock that creates a vortex in the track where only darkness can exist. And still they have more surprises, with the closing track featuring a torturous slow tempo leading into one of the most sadistic moments of the album.
But then there is also the more gracious part of Dead To A Dying World. Their album is not just one of destruction and anger. It is in equal part one of big melodies and atmosphere. This is where the post rock mindset of the band really shines. There are moments when they can appear quite subtle with their melodies, resolving in clean parts, which offer a great change of pace for their songs. Their versatility even allows them to merge the post rock moments with either black metal leads or doom riffs. Their post rock can take a more melodic outlook, as it happens in “Eventide,” creating beautiful soundscapes in the process, but it can also become darker and more bleak, with a rising intensity. There are moments when their structure retains a certain hypnotic repetition, which slowly mesmerises the listener, something apparent in “Beneath The Loam” and the closing track, while at other moments they can appear even chaotic, as is the case with the final minutes of “Eventide.”
Litany has a strong atmosphere which overflows in all the songs. Even if the music is more towards the black metal or doom sides, the cohesive ambiance still prevails. The viola seems to be the primary source of that sweet ambient sound, and Dead To A Dying World are daring enough not to only place it in the quieter moments of their songs, but amidst the black metal outbreaks as well, something that works exceptionally in the opening track. “Eventide,” “Beneath The Loam” and “Narcissus,” all feature moments when the band decides to take a step back and give you some room to breathe before they resume their heavier parts, but there are also instances where the ambiance takes the spotlight. The two shorter interludes of the album, “Cicatrix” and “Sick & Sundar,” follow that pattern, giving a prolonged serenity, with “Cicatrix” awakening a ritualistic vibe while “Sick & Sundar” acquires a more dreamlike approach.
Litany is a great sonic trip, and Dead To A Dying World take you through all their different modes, without the fear of taking their time and really explore their music. It is a diverse and majestic listen that really shows what this band is capable of. Not that we expected anything less from them.