“Loathed Be Thy Name – this song was inspired by Cthulhu Mythos and written from the perspective of a disciple praying to the Dread Lord. H.P. Lovecraft has always been a huge inspiration for me. His writing seems to have a way of expanding your consciousness and taking you somewhere new. Absolute genius.” – Bestialord
Law of the Burning offers nine menacing tracks shrouded in darkness and Lovecraftian atmosphere. Bluesy solos and thick dreadful riff structures authenticate its doom foundation, whereas the spirited vocal, incorporating the ghoulish energy of David Vincent and ancient caveman like tone of Lee Dorrian at the same time, acts as the harbinger of ghastly death metal atmosphere.
Bestialord was formed in 2016 by vocalist/guitarist Mark Anderson (Manilla Road, Sanctus Infernum) and drummer Chris Johnson (Sanctus Infernum), with the line-up rounded out by bassist Rob Harris. Their debut album Law Of The Burning showcases their unique style described as Occult Horror Doom, and one listen clearly showcases their influences which includes Celtic Frost, Candlemass, Morbid Angel, and Mercyful Fate.
The album launches head first in to their take on an atmospheric death metal sound layered over a heavy doom foundation. The first song, The Doom That Came, starts with a teasing instrumental opener full of atmosphere, before launching into a heavy, doom-laden sound. Mark Anderson’s vocals have that traditional growl sound, yet are clear and audible. The middle of the song features a killer, thrashy guitar solo that will have you head-banging along. The second track “Vermin” really solidifies the bands sound. The blackened doom sound is stronger with some great key and pace changes to keep things interesting and another guitar solo. The drums really stand out on this track as they are faster paced, with some solid blast beats.
All Fall Down opens with some sound bites of an angry crowd accompanied by an acoustic guitar instrumental. This leads into a song that has a heavier more epic feel that fans of very early 80’s extreme metal will love. The lyrics stray into themes of social destruction, which is highlighted by a vocal style that is getting raspier and more death metal sounding. There is an almost power metal element to this song that really draws you in. The track really picks up towards the end and draws the listener in. This leads in to the title track of “The Law Of Burning” in which the band really hit their stride. The vocals are a stand out, along with an excellent bass line. The band have figured out their sound and really improve on it showing some great musicianship. Every track has featured a guitar solo but this one has an epic, almost symphonic quality. The song is faster paced and you can’t help but find yourself growling and air guitaring along. Definitely my pick as the stand out track on this album.
The following three tracks: Marduk Kurios, I Am Pain and Loathed by the Name really solidifies the bands sound. Lyrical themes of war and death abound with a touch of a fantasy/occult element. In each song the band tries something new whilst sticking to their core atmospheric death-touched doom genre. Heavy choruses buffeted by spirited guitar solos, clear yet gutteral vocals and some very heavy drum work abound. There is nothing truly ground-breaking but each song draws you in and keeps your interest.
We see a slower pace being adopted with Above The Vaulted Sky. The symphonic instrumental over nature sounds in this tracks opening really grab your attention, as does the songs womanly subject matter. The pace is slower yet heavier with a building feel throughout. The band try for something different here and it really works, showcasing the skills if the members. They continue this ambitious fell with the closing track What Is The End. The bass line really stands out on this track as the song takes on a more epic, power metal feel. This track is designed to draw you in, keep your interest and get you rocking along. It does this well, ending the album on a real high note.
Law Of The Burning is a very solid effort from some clearly talented musicians. They know the sound they are after and really work to bring that to the listener, taking them on a journey. A great harbinger of things to come for Bestialord. If you are someone who likes to break out the greatest hits of the early 80s extreme metal scene, this album is for you.
OK, one of the selling points being pushed here is that this band features a member of Manilla Road.
Hey, I love Manilla Road – Crystal Logic and Mystification in particular. Shelton, Park, Fisher and later the crazy off-meter percussion patterns of Foxe…some really good, quirky “outsider metal” there.
Oh, wait, he came well after the classics, circa the early 2000s. Yeah, know nothing about that era – Shelton lost me by Courts of Chaos (the older-styled “book of skelos” aside).
So anyway…how to describe this one? It’s sort of pre-Covenant Morbid Angel by way of early Nocturnus vocals (yeah, Anderson sounds a lot like Mike Browning here, with just a touch of earlier David Vincent) appended to a quirky/simplistic riffing style falling somewhere between the uber-basicness of Acheron and the off-kilterness of Shelton and Manilla Road…but as pressed very pointedly into the service of first wave black metal or a late 80’s-ish, very Americanized take on blackened thrash.
I guess if you take the Nocturnus demos and bring them down more to an Acheron-ish level of fretboard skill, you’d get Bestialord. It’s certainly “blackened” enough on the lyrical end.
I was good with this, it felt extremely retro 1988-1990, with a far less tech-inclined Morbid Angel/Nocturnus vibe.
Formed last year by ex-Manilla Road bassist Mark Anderson alongside his bandmate Chris Johnson from Sanctus Infernum, Bestialord offers up their version of occult/horror themed doom on their debut full length ‘Law of the Burning’. While there have been plenty of bands that have fallen into that category in recent years, where Bestialord differs is in their ability to pull in riffs that recall death metal’s earlier days just as much as doom. It’s a combination that’s drenched in an ominous, gritty atmosphere that feels appropriately old-school without treading too closely to any one particular band. With ‘Law of the Burning’ due out on January 1st courtesy of Cimmerian Shade Recordings and Symbol of Domination Productions, today we’re premiering the track All Fall Down.
Bestialord establishes a dark and ominous vibe early on with a soft, eerie melody that leads into the type of bottom heavy distortion you’d expect from doom. But the instrumentalists have taken a very different approach from the usual retro doom sound, instead capturing a grittier, bass heavy sound that pulls just as much influence from earlier death metal as it does Candlemass. The riffing throughout All Fall Down is drenched in grime and decay and moves along at a mid-tempo pace that emphasizes the lurching bass grooves and crunchier guitar tone. It’s not quite as bottom heavy as what one might think of when they hear death/doom as of late, with the production opting for the dirt and grime over sheer weight, but it still leaves an impression with the eerie leads and haunting atmospherics. Plus the solo around the three quarter mark adds to the haunting nature of the track considerably, helping to break up the mid-tempo groove perfectly.
Mark Anderson handles the vocal work throughout ‘Law of the Burning’ and he utilizes a raspier scream that hangs over the recording with a ghoulish presence. This is where a lot of the death metal vibe I get from the track comes from as Anderson’s pitch is reminiscent of a number of vocalists from that genre, particularly those that are more horror oriented. The production values allow the screams to hang over the instrumentation and take the spotlight on more than one occasion, and this helps to add a little bit more bite to the material. It’s a nice change of pace from the clean singing you’d expect from doom of this type, and is one of the elements about Bestialord that I think will grab a good deal of listeners.
Other songs on ‘Law of the Burning’ explore some Mercyful Fate style heavy metal and even some very early black metal alongside the death metal tonality, but at its core this remains a doom album. Bestialord is old-school in the best way possible, channeling just about every side of extreme metal’s roots without coming off as cashing in on nostalgia. The group’s left themselves room to expand further upon these concepts, but they’ve still delivered a catchy yet eerie debut. ‘Law of the Burning’ is out January 1st on Cimmerian Shade Recordings and Symbol of Domination Productions.
Bestialord have already chosen their name, but if they hadn’t, I would have suggested Riff Lord (it seems that “Rifflord” has already been taken). Seriously, if you don’t want to severely strain your levator scapulae, I’d recommend you give them a good limbering up before listening to this new Bestialord song from their debut album, Law of the Burning, because headbanging is pretty much compulsory.
But there’s also some logic in the name this trio did choose for themselves, because their brand of occult horror doom also sounds like it was concocted in the infernal lair of a bestial demon overlord.
Bestialord was formed roughly a year ago in Wichita, Kansas, by two members of Sanctus Infernum — Mark Anderson (ex-Manilla Road) and Chris Johnson — who were soon joined by bassist Rob Harris. This first album was recorded earlier this year and will be jointly released on New Year’s Day, 2018, by Symbol of Domination and Cimmerian Shade.
The song we bring you today through a lyric video is “Vermin“. It seems to tell the tale of a vicious and remorseless judgment being passed upon some doomed soul by a supernatural narrator.
The mid-paced music has a primitive and primal power that draws not only from the song’s ominous and brutish (and highly infectious) riffing but also from the kind of drum tone that makes the snare cracks feel like spontaneous skull fractures and the bass booms resonate in your lower intestines, and the vocalist’s craggy growls sound just as savage and heartless as the words he’s proclaiming.
As suggested earlier, the song also has a supernatural atmosphere, thanks to the eerie, spectral reverberations of the lead guitar and the freakish sound of the solo that rears its horned head in the song’s back half.