Lord Dying: Poisoned Altars review

There is a band out of Portland, OR called Lord Dying that is creating a hell of a lot of buzz around them and for damn good reason. Formed in 2010, their 2012 release Summon the Faithless was a bold and defiant declaration that they would be a force to be reckoned with. The band’s sophomore effort via Relapse Records Poisoned Altars reaffirms that proclamation with megalithic authority. The album was helmed by Joel Grind, the mastermind behind Toxic Holocaust and is a mouthwatering musical proposition of the highest order. The band centers, around lead vocalist and guitarist Erik Olson. Erik is a beast of a man in the time honored tradition of metal legends like Leslie West of Mountain, Big Daddy Rich from Texas Hippie Coalition or the Mountain King himself Mr. Jon Oliva of Savatage. It is rounded out by guitarist Chris Evans, bassist Don Capuano and new drummer Rob Shaffer, who just joined the band a mere two weeks before entering the studio to record the new album. The scything guitar riffs and macabre atmospherics in opener and title track “Poisoned Altars” are contemporary & classic at the same time, starting the album off on a very strong note, while “The Clearing At the End of the Path” and “A Wound Outside of Time” are rumbling mantras of jaw dropping gnarliness that show the same blissful disregard for limitations as metal stalwarts Crowbar. Elsewhere, “An Open Sore” is underpinned by the formidable guest vocals of Red Fang’s Aaron Beam and “Offering Pain (And an Open Minded Center)” and “Suckling at the Teat of the She-Beast” are deafening wake up calls of refined sonic dread with as many layers as an Everlasting Gobstopper in the vein of metallic titans Celtic Frost. At the same time, “(All Hopes of A New Day) Extinguished is a guitar driven lament similar to High On Fire, The Sword and Down that really showcases Olson’s caustic larynx and closer “Darkness Remains” is a sprawling doom epic that plunges the listener into an eternal darkness from which there is no escape. Here’s the bottom line- Poisoned Altars is an unassuming and captivating instant classic that will help reaffirm the band’s position as metal contenders for the throne. Rating: 8.5/10 -Eric Hunker