A quick comparison between the cover artwork for the band’s previous album Poisoned Altars and this new one immediately led me to believe that Mysterium Tremendum was going to be a different kettle of fish to its predecessor. There’s a significant difference in aesthetics, and it turns out that the music follows suit. Basically, this is, (almost), a different band.
Okay, so take the band’s filthy sludge metal from earlier times, expand this into progressive sludge metal with a more diverse range, write a concept album about death, and create songs that incorporate all kind of progressive elements, and you’ll have Mysterium Tremendum. The easiest, (and laziest), description would be old Lord Dying mixed with Mastodon, but that doesn’t truly do justice to how Lord Dying have updated themselves.
Considering how much I enjoyed Poisoned Altars I was unsure if I would take to this new, changed Lord Dying. However, it quickly came apparent that the Lord Dying of 2019 still has the same core, but has simply grown and progressed to add a lot more creative elements into their music. The more diverse vocals, added emotional weight, enhanced fragility, expressive progressive rock, and other stylistic flourishes all simply enhance what the band are capable of, and they have produced a compelling and enjoyable piece of work.
This is a multifaceted and rich album that manages to be both catchy and memorable, while also achieving a depth of delivery that’s appropriate for the subject matter.
This is an unexpected release from a band like this, and it just goes to show that any band is capable of changing quite significantly, while still keeping a core of themselves intact. This is a significant step forward for Lord Dying, one which they have taken with confidence and skill.
Mysterium Tremendum is a journey into death, taken via progressive sludge that’s moreish and satisfying.
Very highly recommended.