Release DetailsLABEL Open Grave Records
RELEASED ON 1/30/2007
Random Dictionary of the Damned
posted on 3/2007 By:
While Random Dictionary of the Damned may not be quite what technical death metal enthusiasts were looking for in an album featuring two former members of Iniquity, Downlord have proved themselves a viable entity with this punishing, no frills debut.
Opener “Nailing You In,” confirms what many might have feared after first hearing the Grind Trials EP. Downlord is by no means carrying the torch dropped by tech-death giants Iniquity. Groundbreaking or challenging material, this is not. Rather, on RDotD Downlord sound like a band paying simultaneous tribute to early Floridian Death Metal and UK grind. What this results in are songs that are painfully heavy and flawlessly performed. So while the technicality may be reigned in here, the players are still crafting memorable riffs and pushing themselves to perform them in a way that retains every ounce of the spontaneity of the live performance. Generally, the songs are composed of fast paced chromatic riffs that allow either the bass or guitar to lead the way. Both are rendered with an almost overbearing amount of bottom end that would smother the recording if the instruments were wielded by lesser players. Occasionally speed gives way to doomier and slightly more articulate passages that call to mind Gorefest, Disincarnate, or Cause of Death era Obituary. “Sleep Forever,” in particular, presents an endlessly unraveling checklist of what was so vital about early 90s death metal. The heaviness, as well as the attention to pacing and climax, pays homage to Morbid Angel in a way that goes beyond just slam riffs and pinch harmonics.
If you're still struggling to figure out what Downloard sound like, which I doubt you are, then picture this. Malevolent Creation decides to record with Collin Richardson instead of Scott Burns. During their recording sessions Alex Webster shows up and demands he be hired as the new bass player. He also demands that he gets to write half of the riffs for the album, and that he's given an equal amount of volume in the mix. Richardson decides these songs should be recorded in one take to capture the band's potential live sound. It comes out better than anyone could have expected. However, before Richardson can send off the recording to Earache, James Murhpy shows up and asks if he can record one or two leads. What results is an instantly gratifying album that captures how death metal can reach near perfection as a visceral release when recorded properly.
This album has its less than shining moments. At just under an hour, RdotD can feel a little overlong and some tracks do run into each other. And, of course, fans of Iniquity will have to keep waiting for the follow up to Grime. But for those who truly love death metal, and who get a real kick out of just setting back and dissecting a perfect performance, than this is album is a treat. For a death metal fan who's been finding himself consistently let down by new releases, this is just what the doctor ordered.
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