2015’s Litany was a sprawling, ambitious album. It was also very good, although this new release is something quite new and special in some ways. The band have returned with the even more expansive and developed Elegy. Showing greater focus of delivery, (49 minutes vs Litany’s 73), Elegy is also wider ranging and boasts a greater emotional depth than its predecessor, (which itself wasn’t lacking in that department).
The base of Dead to a Dying World’s hybrid style is still here – black metal and apocalyptic doom smashed together with skill and aplomb – but this has been diversified and expanded quite significantly. Yes, this mixed style, (incorporating elements of doom, sludge, post-black metal, post-rock/metal, Southern rock, and atmospheric rock/metal), is more diverse than ever on this new album. The black metal elements have been pushed further into the background, (although still present), but this only seems to have improved the overall quality of the music.
The emotional core of the music is bolstered greatly by the presence of viola, which seems more central to the band’s sound this time. The vocals, (including the always impressive Jarboe as a guest), are diverse and well-performed, and very expressive. Other guests, (ex-Swans, Bell Witch, The Angelus, and others), add a selection of vocals and instruments to the album in various places, all of which enhance an already strong and involved piece of work.
From black metal intensity to post-rock resplendence, (with multiple stops along the way), this album displays a breadth of atmosphere and depth that is not commonly encountered in extreme metal, (even when as loosely defined as it is here). Rich and textured, these songs use melody in many different ways, all of which are very effective.
The development of Dead to a Dying World is quite startling. While an enjoyable and quite compelling proposition in the past, Elegy sees the band ascend to an entirely new level of impressive ability. This is entrancing, absorbing stuff, and ushers in a new era of quality and individuality for the band.