Dead to a Dying World_LitanyI’m not sure if it’s “fitting” or “ironic” that I received a promo from a band called Dead to a Dying World. After a week of some unfortunate shit hitting way too close to home, I’m further convinced that “the world is going to hell in a hand basket” (as a close friend would say). The thought of being a voiceless observer watching the world kill itself is a heavy burden to carry into Dead to a Dying World‘s sophomore outing, Litany. Hailing from Texas, these doomers dropped a surprising combination of instrumentation (including upright bass, viola, and cello) and cross-genre influences into their self-titled debut, along with a depressive shell of lyrical content. Fusing a blackened-doom foundation with Mastodon-like sludginess (while retaining a great deal of heaviness), Dead to a Dying World employs these additional stringed instruments to create an inescapable mental sinkhole.

As the soothing friction of bow-on-string gives way to the standard atmospheres of post-black tremolos and vocal rasps on “The Eternal Hunt,” it becomes clear that Litany plans to draft Dead and then overcome it. As the song transitions from post-black to some slug-paced doom and clean vocals, the opener shows a band dead-set on experimenting with colors and textures, while fine-tuning its strokes and brush work. After a near seventeen minute run-time filled with ups-and-downs and doom-and-gloom; varying vocal contributions ranging from Mike Yeager’s rasps, angelic cleans, and brutish Mastodonian grunts, to Heidi Moore’s beautiful Ava Inferi-inspired delivery; and the Cobalt-set-to-viola build toward the end of “The Eternal Hunt,” the opener finally lets go for a much needed exhalation. Moving with a drooping heart, the soft-spoken viola, the gloomy Yeager-Moore duet, and vocal lines like “each day is more grey than the one before” haunt the staffs of follow-up “Cicatrix.” Soothing – yet depressing – this track is sure to leave you feeling as hopeless as a penny lost in a heater vent.

Dead to a Dying World_2015

Similar to “Cicatrix,” the instrumental “Sick & Sunder” is a five-ish minute piece meant to calm the soul while suffocating the heart; these intermissions to the chaos do little in the way of bringing “peace of mind.” Following “Cicatrix” and “Sick & Sunder” are “Eventide” and closer “Narcissus,” respectively. Both open with the doomy essence of their predecessors and utilize the viola of Eva Vonne (Sabbath Assembly) and the sludgy urgency of Yeager’s voice to crush your world once and for all. “Eventide” transitions halfway through with a layering of face-punching barks and rasps before yielding its fate to Vonne. With beautiful guitars in tow, she drags this corpse through the same purgatory Green Carnation‘s Light of Day, Day of Darkness is built upon before this trapped animal begins to pull itself free and emerge to the rhythm of the most captivating piece of writing I’ve heard in a long time. It’s the kind of material you long for and similar beauty can be found in the intro to “Beneath the Loam.” These leads grow and push each song to its limits but the atmosphere remains and your spirit becomes further crushed.

At just over an hour, Litany is a journey only appreciated by the ghosts that haunt you, and its sole purpose is to remind you of your fragile mortality. Fluctuating between DR6 compressions (“The Eternal Hunt” and “Eventide”), and the fully open DR10 of “Sick & Sunder” and DR11 of “Cicatrix,” Litany repeatedly pummels your ears before allowing them to rest. Though I would have liked less-compression in the overall end-product, the effect actually works and Billy Anderson’s contributions behind the scenes benefit Litany greatly. The instruments are crystal clear, the vocals have power, and the songwriting is better than the debut. However, as the layered cleans of Yeager close out the album, my urge to press play again is only held back by its runtime. If it was a more digestible length – like its precursor – this would be near-perfect to my ears. Regardless, this album will be with me for a long time and it does as it was designed; leaving me feeling dead to a dying world.


Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Tofu Carnage Records
Websites: deadtoadyingworld.bandcamp.com | deadtoadyingworld.com | facebook.com/DeadtoaDyingWorld
Releases Worldwide: October 16th, 2015

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  • You wot m8?

    So many good albums coming out recently, and this certainly wonderful, albeit in a slit-my-wrists-with-a-rusty-spork kinda way. I’ll most definitely be picking this up. Cheers.

    • Sporks are plastic and thus can’t rust. One of their many appealing qualities.

      • I have a metal spork in the drawer next to me. You may want to google metal spork. Also a good name for a metal prog band.

        • You wot m8?

          Perhaps the best name for a prog band. So, what I’m saying here, nidefatt, is would you like to join the Metal Sporks with me?

          • ! I thought you’d never ask

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Why the hell wasn’t I invited?? I can play the shit out of a washboard. Or spork some galvanized roofing?

          • You wot m8?

            Why of course! You didn’t think we’d actually have any real percussion, did you? We will be the proggiest of the prog. You will play the washboard, nidefatt will be on the shoelaces-on-a-cardboard-box, and I will supply vocals through a broken AC unit.

            Prog will never be the same…

      • John Mosley

        I have a foldable metal spork for travel and camping. Truth.

  • basenjibrian

    “this track is sure to leave you feeling as hopeless as a penny lost in a heater vent.”
    Can I nominate this for Awful-But-So-Good-Metaphor-of-the-Month Klub?
    I enjoyed their debut, and this sounds promising!

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Penny abandonment is a sad tale.

    • You wot m8?

      Shouldn’t that be “Klvb”?

      • basenjibrian

        In the Name of the Horned Gawd, of course!

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Luckily, I’m currently listening to AtomA’s Skylight, so my mood is still fairly stable after reading this review, filled as it is with such wonderfully dispiriting imagery.

    And what with all those Lego pieces and Playmobil figures, the pennies should have plenty of company.

    • sir_c

      Is that due to the Enshine review and its references to Slumber? Cos this week i dug up those records exactly for that reason.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Yep. : )

  • basenjibrian

    Drat. LP only release. I mean, come on. It’s 2015! I have not owned a turntable in 25 years.

    • Kalsten

      It’s in Spotify. I am listening to it right now.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      I see that. Odd. Also, the album’s been released already and there’s only two songs available for streaming in Bandcamp, which is unusual. However, it is available in iTunes.

      • tofucarnage

        Full album is streaming on Noisey, and on the Gilead Media and Tofu Carnage Bandcamp pages.

        • Monsterth Goatom

          Ah, there we go. Thanks. Sometimes you have to go a roundabout way to get to where you want to get in Bandcamp.

    • tofucarnage

      The album is available through digital formats, and CD through Gilead Media.

      • Thatguy

        But for the life of me I can’t see any means of buying a download via Bandcamp, Gilead Media or Tofu carnage.

        • It’s available digitally through the Gilead Media Bandcamp, or on iTunes.

          • Thatguy

            It wasn’t last night – it is now.

  • Grymm

    This month is getting ridiculous with all the high-quality releases coming out.

    I need to scope this one out. Great review, Doc!

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Thanks very much, sir. It be a good one.

    • SelfIndulgence

      So true.
      It’s like they’re trying to kill my wallet.

    • sir_c

      Better revisit some stuff then. I checked some stuff you @amg reviewed back in April and May which I then ignored, but now sounds pretty awesome. Especially doom must not be released in spring time, methinks.

    • CyberJesus

      And there’s still a new Gazpacho and a new Draconian coming out this month!

  • tofucarnage

    Thanks for taking the time with this great review!
    A few corrections for guest vocal attributions:
    – Clean vocals on the beginning of “The Hunt Eternal” are by Brett Campbell (Pallbearer), and Jamie Myers-Waits (Sabbath Assembly) for the middle section clean vocals.
    – Vocal duet on “Cicatrix” is by Jamie Myers-Waits (Sabbath Assembly) and Daron Beck (Pinkish Black), and operatic highs by Sarah Ruth Alexander.
    – Clean vocal duet outro on “Narcissus” is by Daron Beck (Pinkish Black) and Brett Campbell (Pallbearer).

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Oh wow. I didn’t find that anywhere! I felt like that was Jamie singing and I knew Brett was suppose to be on this release. Thanks very much for the info and corrections.

      • tofucarnage

        My pleasure!

  • Pimpolho

    ”as hopeless as a penny lost in a heater vent”

    That’s why i love you, doc.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      ;)

  • The embedded track gets my official Walrus of Approval. Hope the rest is as good.

    • AlphaBetaFoxface

      It’s good to know that satan’s pair of undershorts uses a Walrus rating system rather than the conventional (and quite overly used) numeric rating system. I knew demonic clothing lines would pave the way of the future!

      • Thanks. Everyone else gives stuff their “seal of approval.” I prefer walruses. Walri? Walrues? Whatever.

        • AlphaBetaFoxface

          I will admit that the pun went right over my head. Well played… well played indeed

  • Luke_22

    I’m in a speedier, less gloomy metal mood at the moment but this sounds very interesting. Will be sure to check it out. Nice review as well.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Thank you sir.

  • Wilhelm

    This is a little post metal, very doomy, a bit sludgy, not exactly gothic, but dark and brooding and that violin really hits the spot. Thank you.

  • Arikael

    I like the label’s name

  • Dion Ka

    Nicely written! I will listen to this. Always in search of dark music. Found the last one in Grift’s Syner!

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      I do what I can. Still listening to Grift myself.

      • Dion Ka

        I very much like it! I’ll see where i can get the CD. I have doubts the LP will make it’s way to my home in one piece. Grift is so melodic. Also the bloodway CD found the way from bucharest to my home. Love that album more than i expected.

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Nice! I need to get that Bloodway and Grift albums on vinyl. The artwork looks amazing for those releases.

  • Antorus

    The last few songs on this record remind me of Deafheaven… except a lot better… thanks for the review!

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Personally, I think it is better than Deafheaven but I can see the similarities.

  • Celaeno

    this breaks my heart in all the right ways. thanks doc.

  • Shawn Cypher

    There goes another credit card charge to iTunes. I feel like you guys should get spiffs :P

    • Shawn Cypher

      I wanted to follow up — I am so effing glad I bought this album. Thanks for the recommendation. Just like Pallbearer’s album last year, this one seems to have impeccable timing in my life, and I’ve already become a huge fan..