by MythofRock

Thirteen years ago, some students at Lublin University, Poland, met up. They talked, and found out they had similar tastes in music, worshipping 70s rock and the Grandfathers from Birmingham; then, they smoked some dope, literally or figuratively (or both) and formed a band. Hence, Dopelord emerged, and since then they follow the already carved, predestined path amongst Electric Wizard’s hazy themes and Sleep’s (seemingly) eternal soundscapes, “with bong in hand…” Loyally, they take trips to trance-like acidic hallucinations, attracted by horror themes and witchery; but they never ceased to worship the Grandfathers. How could it be otherwise?

This year, the quartet return with their fifth album, “Songs for Satan”, which, as you may have guessed, doesn’t differ daringly from what they’ve done so far. Dopelord are among the bands that don’t change their route substantially, and if there are any experimentations, these are rather occasional and controllable, yet appreciated (e.g., “Headless Decapitator” in “Sign of the Devil”). In their new effort, Dopelord unmask conspicuously their purpose (it’s declared in the album’s title after all!), remaining dark and turning their backs on the prudish Catholic church. As such, they place emphasis on the wicked vibe, welcoming you, through a short intro, to a ritual that takes place at a remote swamp, in the silence of the night, where only the discreet noise of nocturnal insects dares to interrupt the stillness…

“Songs for Satan” embeds tons of familiar heavy fuzz on five slow, lengthy compositions that rumble the earth. Dopelord don’t pretend; they offer the orthodox doom, enriched -like in previous releases- with occasional boisterous gallops, melodies and vivid vocal lines, forming an unholy, gloomy and melancholic atmosphere. Crushing riffs that reach to your spine fill the soundscape, and Dopelord willingly become the noisy doomsters they want to be, without neglecting a secondary orientation to the hypnotic psych-doom of “Children of the Haze”.

Despite its familiarity, there are noticeable things that add some “spice” to the album. In certain instances, melodic themes become quite memorable, like in the more diverse and enchanting “Night of the Witch”, and the bitter “Evil Spell”. Other tracks, like the juggernaut-ish “One Billion Skulls”, where riffing intensity rises dangerously, and “The Chosen One”, feature a rather homogenous structure, more confined in the territories of traditional doom. However, Dopelord once again turn to a sludge condition in the ominous, suffocating “Worms” (here, you may remember Dopethrone or Sleep’s “Volume One”); such extremities fit in the band’s temperament, although they’ve spilled larger quantities of mud in the past (refer to “Scum Priest” in “Children of the Haze”).

“Songs for Satan” may not be another peak for Dopelord (the peak, justifiably, belongs to 2014’s “Black Arts, Riff Worship & Weed Cult”), but it’s another decent addition to their discography, without introducing significant changes. Of course, there are differences that have evolved gradually during all these years (mainly, that vastness of the Poles’ doom that bands like Acid Mammoth and Windhand engage with as well), but their principles remain like an old tree, which extends its branches slowly.

Hence, why should a doomster listen to the new album, given that it doesn’t offer many new things? Well, this question is irrelevant to the case of doomsters… They trust Dopelord; they know that their Unholiness will satisfy them. Eventually, they will smoke, literally or figuratively (or both)…

♦ 8/10

Alex Nikolaidis



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