LordDyingIt’s been almost two years since Lord Dying released their debut album, and if the four piece have proven anything it’s that they don’t shy away from the big business names. Sanford Parker (Corrections House, Buried at Sea) recorded 2013’s ‘Summon the Faithless’, while latest effort ‘Poisoned Altars’ has been recorded by Joel Grind (Toxic Holocaust). If you suspect that this pairing may suggest Lord Dying are shifting away from the sludgey end of the spectrum and into the thrashier side of things then you’d be absolutely right.

While this record isn’t a balls out “wreck your neck” type affair, it certainly has flirtations with thrash territory, including a much faster pace across these eight tracks than was previously heard on the last album, and a few gnarly guitar solos thrown in for good measure. Those drawn in by the High on Fire worship at play on Lord Dying’s debut won’t walk away disappointed, however.

There’s still plenty of chug left in the guitars, and plenty of Matt Pike influence lurking throughout. Erik Olson’s vocals also maintain their gruffness, encompassing a half-bark, half-shout and sounding like a less seasoned Kirk Windstein. The stand-out track on ‘Poisoned Altars’ is without a doubt ‘An Open Sore’, featuring a cameo vocal performance from Red Fang’s Aaron Beam. Beam lends a punk quality to his choral pairing with Olson, thus intensifying the speedier, thrash influenced feel of this opus.

While this is a solid release on all fronts, Lord Dying run the risk of playing themselves into a rut. They’ve worked out a pretty steady formula for song structures and use it with aplomb, however, it gets old quickly and the guys will have to pull out something extraordinary on album number three to avoid sounding tired and repetitive.

(7/10 Angela Davey)