When I was a kid, when December rolled around, my parents would listen to a Christmas album by the choral ensemble Chanticleer featuring the opera singer Dawn Upshaw. This wasn’t your standard “Jingle Bells” and “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” fare; it featured older, more explicitly religious carols from around the world (which is ironic because my family isn’t religious in the slightest). The songs had an exalted feel to them, and could even veer into dark territory, reminding me of hooded monks trekking through a brutal winter somewhere in eastern Europe; I guess Christmas wasn’t always about shopping and fun! Today’s find, “Vernal Equinox,” from the new album Elegy (Profound Lore) by Texas metal band Dead To A Dying World, reminds me of that childhood Christmas album. A lot of that has to do with the vocals of guest singer Jarboe (formerly of the band Swans), whose operatic voice bears a passing resemblance to Upshaw’s. This track also shares the same deadly-serious, almost holy atmosphere, which makes sense coming from a band whose genre is often described as “doom metal.” The song’s slower pace and epic crescendos draw from the melodic post-metal stylings of bands like Isis and Pelican, while the pagan classical music vibe cultivated by the addition of a cello reminds me of the band Agalloch. This one has the potential to appeal even to those who think that metal is “scary.” Not a very peppy song for this Friday morning; I now have the urge to dress in black robes and trudge slowly to work, scowling at the ground as I go (probably won’t do it, though).
Listen to more Dead To A Dying World: https://deadtoadyingworld.bandcamp.com/
Listen to more from this label: https://profoundlorerecords.bandcamp.com/