Druid Lord released their debut album, Hymns for the Wicked, in 2010. The have appeared on a number of splits and EPs since Hymns, but fans finally get a full helping with Grotesque Offerings, their first release for Hells Headbangers Records.
While their death metal counterparts, like Morbid Angel and Death, exhibit some thrash-inspired bits on their albums, Druid Lord approach their sound from the opposite end of the spectrum, actively relying on doom, sludge, and horror elements. “House of Dripping Gore” leads off Grotesque Offerings, replete with an ominous sounding organ intro that gradually gives way to a heavy, crunching guitar riff and sets the mood for the rest of the album. “Night Gallery” slows the tempo down even more, but it switches gears mid-song and develops a nice groove with the twin guitars of Pete Slate and Ben Ross, supplemented by Elden Santos and bassist/vocalist Tony Blakk.
The band are at their best on “Black Candle Seance,” where Blakk‘s growls are reminiscent of Bloodbath-era Mikael Åkerfeldt. The production brings out the sinister, gloomy atmosphere that is a theme throughout the album. The guitars and bass sit well in the mix, and the drum tones are full and rich.
Critics may find the lyrical contact to be trite and banal, but it actually adds to the insane and demented spirit of Grotesque Offerings. Slow, sludgy rhythms only go so far, and it is the lyrics that tell the complete story.
Grotesque Offerings is out January 19 on Hells Headbangers. Buy it here!