Ghost Cult had the pleasure of chatting with vocalist/guitarist Erik Olson of Lord Dying recently for the podcast. He chatted about the bands’ new album, Mysterium Tremendum, releasing via their new record label eOne on April 26th. Erik talked about the loss of a loved one that drove the content of the album, new members in the bands, concept albums, and getting in touch with their psychedelic and progressive side. You can pre-order the album in all formats here, and check out our chat! Continue reading
Portland, OR based sludge band Lord Dying return with their new album Poisoned Altars (Relapse Records) due out on January 27th. With the album streaming through various sources, fans and new listeners can get a taste of what’s to come before the official release this week.
The only real problems I have with the record are the vocals. While Erik Olson’s voice remains steady and constant, I have a hard time finding much emotion behind it. The instruments do all of the talking and seem to leave the vocal tracks seem a bit out of place at times.
The music itself is absolutely solid and captures your attention. None of the songs feel overdone or unnecessary. I could easily listen to an instrumental version of this for hours. That said, there are a few tracks that especially stand out to me. ‘An Open Sore’ is a fantastic break up song. You’re not going to be wallowing in pity because it makes you want to get up and move (all of your ex’s stuff to the curb). The song also features Red Fang’s nerdalicious Aaron Beam performing guest vocals.
My favorite track off of Poisoned Altars is a toss up between ‘A Wound Outside of Time’ and ‘Darkness Remains’. ‘A Wound Outside of Time’ is the shortest song on the album and every second of it is filled with excellence. It starts off slowly but quickly gains momentum and keeps the listener engaged. ‘Darkness Remains’ wraps up the album in just under seven minutes of pounding riffs and vocals before ultimately fading out.
This is an album that you really have to spend some time with. You’re not going to get everything in just a few listens. I’m sure there’s much more the remains to be seen and heard in person as well. I’ve never seen Lord Dying live but I’ll definitely have to add them to my list. I anticipate a wicked bangover in my future.
ALEIDA LA LLAVE
Very few bands work as hard as Portland riff rockers Lord Dying, where the touring life and playing loud rock is a way of life for these four gentlemen. Since the band started in 2010, they have come out swinging and their impact has been felt on the Northwestern US music scene, playing dirty riff rock with a dark overtone that has won over fans everywhere they have played.
Lord Dying made their first appearance at the Scion Rock Fest in Pomona, CA and also debuted a few songs off of their forthcoming album Poisoned Altars (Relapse). Much of these songs were still fairly new to the band as well, as they had not performed them live.
Lord Dying has been a staple part of the growing Northwestern rock scene that has taken the music world by storm. Not since the Seattle grunge scene of the early 1990s has the Northwestern US seen a musical revolution captivate the world and grabbed the attention of the public and the media like this.
“The music scene really. Even ten years ago, I’ve always love bands from out of there. Now the scene is getting a lot of notoriety. It’s being noticed worldwide. People are starting to understand… when we go to Europe, not always but sometimes we have to explain it’s a city between Seattle and LA…even though there are many. They definitely have heard of Seattle and LA. The West Coast!”
“Definitely in America too. I noticed we’re being noticed a lot. A lot of the bands are touring and putting out good music,” said Olson.
If rock is allegedly dead, this area definitely missed this memo. Especially Lord Dying, as Poisoned Altars is anything, but layers of distorted rock music that never lets up from pummeling listeners with riff after riff after riff.
“Not in the Northwest man!,” says lead vocalist and guitarist Erik Olson, about the thriving rock scene Lord Dying came out of. “Definitely was into that music (the grunge scene). I would say there definitely is some influence, but same thing with growing up and listening to punk and metal too. I think our sound has an influence from the Northwest like grunge and sludge scene. But a lot of the bands there do too. It’s part of it. The Melvins are a huge influence on everyone.”
A lot has happened since they wound down their touring cycle behind their Relapse Records debut, 2011’s Summon the Faithless. After touring with a variety of bands such as Danava, Lecherous Gaze, Black Cobra, Gaza, Witch Mountain, Black Tusk, as well as higher profile tours with Down, Red Fang and Ghost BC, they began working on newer songs and recorded their new album.
“We wanted to keep the touring going, but we’ve been touring so much on this last record, we needed to have another one out so we could keep it up,” he explained, about getting the writing portion going with Lord Dying.
The band got off the road and found time to begin exploring ideas to shape what became skeletons of songs for Poisoned Altars.
“We put some time into it at home,” said guitarist Chris Evans.
“When we have a break, we usually try to go in every day to work on stuff and see what we come up with. We don’t really do it on the road. I hear about bands doing that. I don’t see how you have the time. Maybe write a riff here and there, but we have to really dedicate time to write a song when we’re home,” added Olson.
So does the rainy environment play a role in what fuels their angst ridden tones? “It does. There’s not a lot to do there so it does have an impact on a lot of the musicians. They don’t have a lot to do so they go inside and write music and it’s depressing all the time outside, so you get depressing music out of it! You get used to it too. I’ve been there about ten years. It doesn’t have that much of an effect on me,” he said.
Olson spoke about the new album and a briefing about what to expect. “It’s going to be a little more brutal, and a little meaner. We stepped the playing up at least a few steps. The first one to feature Rob [Shaffer] over here.”
Since the last album, the band parted ways with Jon Reid, their original drummer. They hired former Dark Castle drummer Rob Shaffer to play drums on Poisoned Altars, as well as fill in for live dates.
“When our drummer decided he didn’t want to do it any more, because he had some other things that he had to pursue, he was the first person in Portland that came to mind. He used to play in Dark Castle, which we loved the drumming in that and knew he wasn’t doing a lot at the moment musically. So we thought ‘let’s give Rob a call.’ He was into it,” explained Olson.
Shaffer had literally joined prior to the Scion Fest, but was up for the challenge to play with Lord Dying. “I joined three or four weeks ago. Learned all of the songs and recorded it, learned all the old songs at practice in the last three days. This is my test!,” he said, with a chuckle.
“We wrote all the music for the new album when we had a break from touring last fall. Then we were on the road non stop until about a month ago,” added Evans.
They took their music on the road and have won over a legion of fans everywhere they played. Olson said the band’s touring has helped attract new fans and the new album will be no different. “Part of that is definitely all the touring. There’s that and Red Fang helped us a lot with exposure. Signing with Relapse didn’t hurt. It definitely opened some doors. We’re definitely out there to do as much as we can. I think people want to work with us because of that. We like to take advantage of any opportunities. We haven’t really been turning down any tours.”
So what’s next? After completing a brief West Coast tour supporting Corrosion of Conformity, they will be venturing on a North American tour supporting Anvil
Interview By Rei Nishimoto
We ventured to Eindhoven in the Netherlands for the European tour of Red Fang, The Shrine and Lord Dying. After the pretty awesome show Lord Dying gave at the Effenaar, I had the chance to have a little chat with these guys. As soon as I stepped into the backstage room the air was filled with scent of male deodorant, beer, and a little whiff of sweat. Some bandmembers were roaming around the hallway. I walked into the dressing room of Lord Dying, Erik Olson, Don Capuano, Rob Shaffer, and Chris Evans were chilling out after their show, and I had one of the most warm welcomes ever. I got a beer pushed into my hands and from there is where we started to chat a little.
Welcome to the warm middle-south of the Netherlands. How do you like the Netherlands so far and did you guys had the chance to check out the environment?
Well yeah, we have a bunch of dates in Holland still coming and Roadburn in on the list. We didn’t really have the time to check things out outside of the venue. But during Roadburn we do have some time to check out the town, we believe we have 2 or 3 days in between shows.
One simple question, I’ve see you have been in Belgium a few days back, do you like Dutch or Belgium beers more?
Uhh, we actually drink this (holds up a can of Jupiler)
Yep, that definitely is Belgian beer, let me write that down. Talking about Roadburn, on their site they called you guys “Cavemen Metal”. What do you guys think about that name?
Haha, yeah that is an awesome name, yeah we totally are cavemen with beards.
So is it because of the beards?
It is pretty much all about the beards indeed.
Lord Dying has a very distinct sound, is this a typical sound from Oregon?
In some way it is, we get inspiration from bands that play in your certain area so you hear some of the influences back in our music. We love to hang around with the folks from our area, that is why we are so happy to tour with Red Fang who are also from Oregon. It is just cool to make what you love to make, and that is what we do.
Is this a popular kind of genre in Oregon?
We have a great booming metal scene up there. We have a lot of doom bands and we have a lot of thrash bands. We don’t really try to fit in with all of them. We just try to experiment with the riffs and beats, we try to crossover in the styles without too much genre jumping and still being interesting to listen to.
You can definitely hear a lot of those influences in Lord Dying indeed. What are the key points to the music as you make it?
We all like different kinds of heavy music. It all comes together with the riffs. We all try to write it before and then we kind of try to put it in a song. We definitely take an influence from the sound that is coming from the pacific southwest. We try not to take everything to directly. We try to write our own thing. There isn’t really a thing that we specifically try to play we just do it.
Okay, so you don’t try, you guys just are?
Haha, Yeah you can put it like that indeed.
You had your debut album out for quite a while now, named Summon the Faithless (Relapse). You immediately earned your status in the US and in Europe. How did that happen? Most bands go by trial and error.
Look. We have good friends that support us throughout. We work hard and earned our place, first local, then the US and now Europe. We take every opportunity to play, and it doesn’t matter how much it costs. And we had our very first show with Red Fang, who are also from our neighborhood. So we had a very good start.
It is pretty awesome you have friends that already have such credibility that can push you guys along.
Yeah, we were lucky on that part. And they are like really great dudes. We are really stoked to do this, and we have a lot of awesome bands from Portland.
So in a few weeks you are going to play Roadburn, how siked are you guys?
We are pumped! We got asked and we were like “Yeah of course”. It is 3 days after our tour is over, so we are already there. Why wouldn’t we play there! We love to play as much as we can.
There are a lot of bands that play this kind of style, how do you guys think you stand out in the crowd?
There are a lot of different kinds of genres we get compared with. For instance sludge. In our opinion sludge isn’t the good description of us, we accept it though. People like to put names on something. But we are more high energy and we write more pumped music.
I was looking at your show, and I agree with that feeling. I mean, you guys are fun to watch, the energy is splattering off the stage while you guys play. Do you feel that the same?
Well, yeah! It is fun to play and we try to give the audience everything we can. Obviously there is a lot of rad sludge bands out there. But we try to keep it interesting.
By the way, who is the Lord in your band name and why is he Dying?
It is about worshipping and bowing down. Fuck that! We don’t like to bow down. And we don’t like authority. So that is why the Lord is Dying.
If you would have to choose a band you could play with where you would go totally retard about, which one will it be?
Carp, they don’t exist anymore but yeah. They are pretty awesome. But we would love to play with Slayer of course, everybody would love to play with Slayer.
Another beer question, we love beer questions. How much beer do you guys think you have drunk after the tour is over?
Wow, do we have to answer this question in gallons? We don’t know, enough to float a ferry from the UK to Europe, we guess.
And for the final question. Where do you guys hope to be in 10 years from now?
Just playing riffs. Doing the same thing. Living the life. We’ll just see what is going to happen. We can’t live off it, but we hope to still be touring around. The goal is to be staying on the road all the time. We enjoy what we are doing. Every time when we get home, we want to get touring again. We call it after tour- depression.
After the interview with Lord Dying I went back to the venue to see Red Fang. It was a pretty awesome evening, you can read all about it in the review about this show. We had a blast on this energetic night.
KAAT VAN DOREMALEN
LIVE PHOTOS BY SUSANNE A. MAATHUIS