Supergroup is such an erroneous term – images of bored playboys pissing on their legacy spring to mind – but the members of With The Dead have a history of creating criminally good records as long as your arm. They've all served hard time in the subterranean worlds of Doom and the heaviest forms of Metal and have now reconvened to surpass previous projects. They're back – and this time the aim is To maim.
With The Dead were formed by the founding rhythm section of occultist Doom overloads Electric Wizard: guitarist/bassist Tim Bagshaw and drummer Mark Greening, a pair once notorious for the sheer brute heaviness of their bowel-shaking sound and early extra-curricular activities that involved excess, injury and low-level criminality (arrests for the theft of a crucifix from a church roof and drunkenly robbing an off-licence to name but two). Both have also played together in Ramesses.
Completing the triangle is frontman Lee Dorrian, co-founder of Doom pioneers Cathedral, former frontman with grindcore legends Napalm Death and owner of Rise Above Records, the UK’s finest independent purveyors of all sounds heavy and underground, whose stable of bands include Ghost, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, Lucifer, Blood Ceremony and Witchcraft. Having been in business since 1988, Rise Above is also one of the most enduring.
Existing doom-heads will already know that the longstanding relationship between Rise Above and Electric Wizard is one that was fractious and fraught. Much mud has been slung between band, label and former members in recent years, but the With The Dead trio are of the opinion that big words meant little - it’s the action that truly counts. And as the fire that is Electric Wizard peters out, With The Dead burn with eyebrow-singeing intensity. With The Dead are heavy. No - scratch that. With The Dead are heavy. H.E.A.V.Y!!! They are a band with teeth and talons.
Like the product of some sort of alchemical alignment or a diabolical modern demon summoned by a whispered incantatory spell, With The Dead formed on All Hallow’s Eve 2014. They worked quickly and the result is a six-track, self-titled debut broadside
that draws on the members’ rich musical legacy but without ever taking a backward step. Rising like a fecund creature from the fetid bogs of old England, With The Dead is a malevolent beast that lurches and staggers, flattening everything in its path. Guitars moil and curdle, bubbling up through the loam like black tar, while existing fans will surely welcome the return of Dorrian’s distinctly hateful vocals.
Any listener will be left battered on the floor, bludgeoned into submission by With The Dead’smusical brutality. A new era is upon us.
1. Crown of Burning Stars
2. The Cross
4. Living With the Dead
5. I Am You Virus
6. Screams From My Own Grave