Reviewed: February, 2018
Released: 2018, Hells Headbangers
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Outside of the occasional 7” or split, It’s been 8 years since we last properly entered the Chamber of Ghastly Horrors, but Orlando’s Druid Lord have finally returned with their sophomore LP, GROTESQUE OFFERINGS. A gruesome menagerie of Hammer Horror, Mario Bava flicks and hulking doom-death incantations, the Druid Death Cult are once again set to haunt your dreams, drink your blood, and leave your carcass for the vultures.
With its pipe organ intro a la The Haunted Mansion, “House of Dripping Gore” sets a spooky vibe for everything that’s to follow. It’s a crawling tune that recalls the work of H.H. Holmes and his infamous murder castle (talk about some bad Yelp reviews), dripping with murky, mildewed riffs, spine tingling melodies and Tony Blakk’s best Nick Holmes-circa ‘91 impressions. That chilling atmosphere of medieval horror is pervasive across the entirety of the album, masterfully spilling into each successive tune like dripping blood cascading down a creaking staircase and offering a satisfying balance of doom metal, death metal and everything in-between.
Tracks like “Night Gallery” and “Evil That Haunts This Ground” lean more towards a Dream Death meets Autopsy vibe, being more deliberate with each stalking footstep, while late stage gems like “Murderous Mr. Hyde” and “Last Drop of Blood” rev the engines louder and faster, hinting back towards the band’s pre-DL, straight up death metal daze (Equinox, Acheron anybody?). Peppered across the album you’ll also find the occasional instrumental interlude, featuring everything from Midnight Syndicate worthy piano movements to monologues from Van Helsing himself. These kinds of moments can often be viewed as filler on some albums, but their inclusion across GROTESQUE OFFERINGS really help keep the tension high while offering the listener a moment to breathe.
If Christopher Lee is your Dracula of choice and you prefer your metal covered in coffin soil, Druid Lord are a band you should get familiar with quickly. The soundtrack to your nightmares (in the best possible way), GROTESQUE OFFERINGS is out now through Hells Headbangers.