Bands breaks up. Members from the various bands then form a new band. It happens all the time. But rarely does a band form with such a high calibre of talent surprise you this much. Opium Lord is the new doom metal project featuring three guys from History of the Hawk (a hardcore punk band), one guy from Stinky Wizzleteat (a stoner-metal band) and one guy from Mothertrucker (a post metal band). That’s a pretty eclectic mix of guys with an eclectic set of musical backgrounds. This probably shouldn’t work when you see it on paper, but my God does it.
As already mentioned, Opium Lord make doom metal and they sound like they should have always been making doom metal. The riffs on this EP are huge, nasty, grinding affairs that you’ll have a hard time forgetting. The leads do an equally incredible job of giving this EP some amazing atmosphere. The leads on The Calendrical Cycle sound like the distant blare of a siren giving the songs a bleak and dense effect that is brilliantly unique.
Vocals are also fantastic throughout. Nathan Coyle changes between a higher-pitched, throat-destroying scream before breaking down with the slower-paced sections into a bellowing growl of discomfort. This is the sound of a man giving it his all with an almost violent display of intensity.
Enough can’t be said about the song writing on display on The Calendrical Cycle. Doom metal doesn’t lend itself particularly well to structures that twist and turn to keep you on your toes, but Opium Lord do a damn fine job of keeping things fresh. Both the songs featured on this EP keep you hooked with a huge riff before changing the pace slightly to bring a fresh set of guitar work to the fray. This will usually be a little more sparse in its’ instrumentation which makes for some great juxtaposition against the thick and overbearing sound you’ve been introduced to.
Special mention has to be given to the production. This is a big sounding EP that has no right to sound so polished so early into a band’s career. Everything is clear from the low rumble of the bass, the massive crash of the drums, the growling riffs and the grief-stricken vocals. However, don’t expect a clean-sounding EP; this is as dirty and nasty as you’d want a great doom metal record to sound.
Opium Lord have successfully whet our whistles. At only 2 songs long, they’ve managed to put forward some of the most engaging yet down-right horrible doom known to man (I mean that in the nicest possible way). The only downside to this EP is that it’s all over far too soon. We’re hoping that the mention of a “prologue” in the EP’s title means that a full-length isn’t too far behind. The Calendrical Cycle has us begging for more and we cannot wait to hear it.
The Calendrical Cycle – Prologue: The Healer by Opium Lord is released on CD through Thirty Days of Night Records on 11/03/2013.