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Grotesque Offerings
(Hells Headbangers Records)

"Grotesque Offerings" is the new album by DRUID LORD, eight years after their debut and after a number of splits and EPs in-between. The band, formed with two ex-members of ACHERON and EQUINOX (I still hold on to my "Equinox" 1994 demo) play a very slow and heavy Doom Death Metal focusing on horror movies and macabre themes. Despite the dirge-like mood, this is not whiny at all. You may often feel like you are hearing a funeral march, but the vocals are always strong and aggressive, as if narrating brutal horror stories in a menacing way (a fine vocal work by Tony Blakk). It owes far more to old school Death Metal than to any ambient-driven depressive band. Even the cover artwork, somewhat reminiscent of DEATH's "Scream Bloody Gore", immediately hints at the vicious stories that lurk within. Still, often there are musical, film-like interludes that set the grotesque mood. The production is great, and adequately so, since when you have music this slow it can only thrive off pure melody. And thankfully that's a point in which this band shines. The leaden heavy riffs, played with abusively downtuned guitars, are sometimes so slow it's amazing (we're speaking early CATHEDRAL style slowness), and yet they are very effective, with many moments of musical skill, and beautiful partnership between both guitars. Sometimes speed picks up, complemented with solos and leads, like in 'House Of Dripping Gore' or 'Last Drop Of Blood', but more often than not this mid-tempo is eschewed in favour of slowness than sometimes descends to abyssal levels ('House Of Dripping Gore' again, an opening track that runs a wide gamut of speed, or the wonderful opening of 'Night Gallery'). In spite of this doomy pace and the long songs, things are happening and grasping your attention, like gloomy organ or cello accompaniments, or just the strength of the songs themselves. While doing this review, I heard the album several times in a row with much pleasure, so I for one am convinced. The final track is a beautiful atmospheric piece (with piano, synths, cinematic effects and so on) that closes this chapter in DRUID LORD's oeuvre with an ominous tone. So, if you are into old Death Metal like AUTOPSY slowed down to the speed of, say, WINTER, or just if you are into very heavy and dark Metal, this is recommended for you. To know more, enter the vault of,

Ricardo Campos

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