Thursday 18 January 2024

Lord Dying - Clandestine Transcendence (Album Review)

Release Date: 19th January 2024. Record Label: MNRK Heavy. Formats: CD/DD/Vinyl

Clandestine Transcendence - Tracklisting

The Universe Is Weeping

I Am Nothing I Am Everything

Unto Becoming

Final Push Into The Sun

Dancing On The Emptiness

Facing The Incomprehensible

A Brief Return To Physical Form

A Bond Broken By Death

Break In The Clouds (In The Darkness Of Our Minds)

Soul Metamorphosis

Swimming In The Absence

The Endless Road Home


Erik Olson (Guitar/Vocals)

Chris Evans (Guitar)

Alyssa Mocere (Bass)

Kevn Swartz (Drums)


Clandestine Transcendence is the new album from Sludge Metallers Lord Dying which is their first album in five years. The Portland, Oregon natives return with a more outlandish and progressive sound that features a more operatic sound which features the band's usual flair for Doom, Thrash, Stoner and Sludge Metal dynamics. There are elements of Prog Metal storytelling which the band have been using since their 2019 album. Shades of Mastodon, OPETH, GOJIRA and EYEHATEGOD can be heard within Clandestine Transcendence with Lord Dying still creating their own exciting and dynamically powerful sound. The main THRASH based sound is perhaps the main creative engine for Lord Dying to deliver their intense melodic grooves with a mixture of clean vocals and harsh growls that have moments of ferocious aggression and sublime Psychedelic Sludge energy.

This is the first album to feature Alyssa Mocere on Bass and Kevin Swartz on Drums even though they've been members of Lord Dying since 2019 and they bring a more fully fleshed and realised sound to Lord Dying not heard since their acclaimed debut release. The album opens with a set of great tracks (The Universe Is Weeping, I Am Nothing I Am Everything) that showcases the more aggressive and adventurous Lord Dying with moments of Classic Hard Rock, Heavy Metal and Thrash Metal alongside their standard Doom/Sludge Metal sound. The songs are varied in tone and how they're fully delivered with sometimes an EXTREME style being played which surprised me along the way. This feels like Lord Dying playing new experimental ideas against their usual style of music they're ultimately known for.

The third track Unto Becoming sees Lord Dying embraces MASTODON-esque world building with a flashy NWOBHM energy being played against a subtle OPETH prog rock flow whilst still allowing Lord Dying to deliver their strongest material to date and keeps that winning creative energy throughout the remainder of the album. This track alone is aggressive whilst showing a more restrained style of music from Lord Dying. They let their aggressive grooves and sounds only take centre stage when the time calls for it.

Fourth track Final Push Into The Sun continues with the extreme energy of the previous track but with a more proficient and technically delivered performance which harks back to the mid-00's of Progressive Sludge Metal with modern day Psychedelic energy. The song is played at a breakneck speed which perhaps makes it challenging to listen to all the multiple styles of music the band play on this track alone. However, the album is always exciting and has a lot to say even within the more subdued and quieter moments of the album. The vocals become theatrical but you can understand the creative reasons why the band went with this direction.

With this four tracks out of the way, Lord Dying have given the listener a cool idea of what to expect for the rest of the album with many dark twisted moments of Progressive Sludge Metal which has some killer Classic Hard Rock duelling guitars appearing more and more with tracks such as Dancing On The Emptiness, A Bond Broken By Death and Soul Metamorphosis. There's also some exquisite shorter paced tracks such as Facing The Incomprehensible and A Brief Return To Physical Form which both once again show different sides to Lord Dying. 

Clandestine Transcendence is a warped Psychedelic journey into the more experimental areas of Doom, Sludge and Stoner Metal with Lord Dying delivering their heaviest and trippiest album to date. The record runs for nearly an hour which means there's a lot to take in for this album. However, this is a wonderfully surreal release which is helped along by awesome production values which are handled by the legendary Kurt Ballou at his famed God City Studios. Lord Dying are back with a vengeance and they've ultimately delivered their best album to date. 

Words by Steve Howe 

Thanks to Lauren at Rarely Unable PR for the promo.

Clandestine Transcendence will be available to buy now on CD/DD/Vinyl via MNRK Heavy USA and MNRK Heavy Europe


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