Dead to a Dying World – Elegy
Reviewed: April, 2019
Released: 2019, Profound Lore Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Sometimes good things happen to bands that deserve them. In 2015, Dallas based doom metallers Dead to a Dying World released their incredible sophomore album LITANY almost entirely under the radar and without much fanfare. Word of mouth quickly spread in the right circles about the band and how good LITANY was, next thing you know they’re at Roadburn, followed up by a label deal with Profound Lore Records – which couldn’t be a better home for the band’s brand of artfully infused epic doom. Following up a milestone album is a daunting task for any artist, but with ELEGY, Dead to a Dying World proves that their surge of success was anything but a fluke.
ELEGY retains the most elaborate elements of its predecessor, but makes a tonal shift away from the band’s black metal influences towards more a more atmospheric folk approach. It’s not dissimilar from the likes of mid-career Alcest or Agalloch; it’s not as in-your-face heavy as past material, but the complexities woven throughout the album and the resulting emotional resonance more than make up for it. Carried by acapella harmonies and distant strings, the opening “Syzygy” sounds almost as a hymn from the American southwest, eventually careening into the crashing bombast of “The Seer’s Embrace”. The contrasting elements of sullen minimalism and epic, sonic cacophonies are common themes across ELEGY, sometimes arriving at this intersection multiple times within individual tracks.
With seven performers in the band, there’s plenty of opportunity for the recipe to sour, but tracks towards the latter half of ELEGY exemplify just how adept Dead to a Dying World is at making it all sound naturally cohesive. “Empty Hands, Hollow Hymns” and “Of Moss and Stone” lean heaviest back into the band’s black metal tendencies, but even within that context, the escalation of strings, dissonant riffs, and swirling vocal competitions make for an enthralling exit strategy.
With ELEGY, Dead to a Dying World have defied expectations once again. It’s a beautifully crafted composition that’s true to the band’s heaviest history while still being confident enough to create new musical chapters within their history. Whether you consider yourself a connoisseur of doom metal, ambient melancholy, or just have an appreciation for complex metal in general, ELEGY is an album not to be ignored.