Lord Dying - Poisoned AltarsHappy New Year 2015!! 2014 was a year that gave my ears so many memorable albums, so I have high hopes that this new year can keep the ball rolling. The first new album I’ve listened to in January is “Poisoned Altars,” the second album release from Portland, Oregon’s Lord Dying. The band consists of Erik Olson (guitar/vocals), Chris Evans (guitar), Rob Shaffer (drums) and Don Capuano (bass). Right off the bat, I noticed that this album was produced and engineered by the mastermind behind the thrash metal band Toxic Holocaust, Joel Grind at Audio Siege studios. The album has 8 songs that clock in at a total of 37 minutes.

Now, if you’ve never listened to Lord Dying, and I know other reviewers are going to mention it, you are not listening to Crowbar. I had to check and double-check to make sure that Erik Olson, not Kirk Windstein, was the vocalist. That’s how close these two guys sound. Does the rest of Lord Dying sound like Crowbar? Yes and no. All of my research on Lord Dying showed that they are labeled a sludge band. Sure, Olson‘s and Evans‘ guitars feature harsh and abrasive chugging riffs throughout the album, starting with the title track. But instead of a slow crushing sludge pace like a tank, Lord Dying picks up the pace and it borders on thrash.

Underneath the killer tornado of heavy riffs of songs such as ‘A Wound Outside of Time’ and ‘Suckling at the Teat of a She-Beast’ is the calming but deadly bass skills of Don Capuano. Drummer Rob Shaffer helps bring the pain behind his kit with explosive heaviness on ‘The Clearing at the End of the Path’ and ‘Offering Pain (and an Open Minded Center).’ Vocalist Erik Olson definitely scares the socks off you with his howling madness, and one of the vocal highlights on this album is when Olson shares the spotlight with Red Fang‘s Aaron Beam on the track ‘Open Sore.’ But I’m going to say Lord Dying saved the best for last with ‘Darkness Remains.’ This song backs up the truck and dumps a ton of chunky heavy riffs mixed in with a blistering solo on your head, pure sludge euphoria.

I enjoyed “Poisoned Altars” immensely and I hope you will too. Thank you, Lord Dying, for starting my 2015 listening experience on the right track.

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