Interview: Lord Dying on Expanding the Storyline and Keeping it Heavy

Lord Dying

Sludgy, heavy, despairing and epic, Lord Dying may not be flying high on the trendy bandwagon right now with their particular style of music, but that’s just fine for them. They’ve been dedicated to the dark and swampy arts for too long to let anything like that faze them. And their recent offering, Clandestine Transcendence, out now via MNRK Heavy, is a testament to their dedication to, and progression through, that sound. We caught up with guitarist and vocalist Erik Olson about their continued legacy on this record and how they keep things so damn heavy.

Can you tell us a little bit about the writing and recording process for Clandestine Transcendence? How did it differ from previous releases? 

The process was really similar to what we did with the last record, Mysterium Tremendum. Chris (Evans, guitar) and I demo everything. We each write a part and then kind of figure out if it needs anything else and go from there with what we think the song needs. We usually do guitars and drums first, and then we’ll do bass, and then vocals last. We usually stick to that format every time.

And what are some of the lyrical themes you tap into with this record? 

This album is a sequel to Mysterium Tremendum, so it was already kind of thought about when we wrote that record and decided to do a trilogy. We were already thinking about the second and third records and had a guideline of where we wanted to go with this one. Usually we brainstorm ideas and song titles and then go from there, see what the melodies and different songs are calling for lyrically and what would work best in each song.

With the trilogy in mind, do you think this is a story you’re going to keep telling and expanding on even beyond this story arc? 

We’ll probably want to try something else. I’m not opposed to coming back to this storyline at some point in the future, but I also wouldn’t mind trying something new. But it could be cool to revisit at some point.

What do you most want listeners to take away from either the music or this continuing saga? 

Well, we hope people like it, and we want people to see it as a hopeful piece of music more than something negative because it’s supposed to inspire. It may be dark, but there is some underlying hope, and I hope people get that from listening. We’re naturally kind of negative, and maybe it comes off in parts as being negative, but it’s not supposed to. It’s actually supposed to be a lot more positive than most of the stuff we’ve done.

I also noticed when I listened, and it’s pointed out in the press release as well, that there’s more of a melodic quality to this record, so that kind of goes along with the positivity. 

A lot of it was written during the pandemic, so it was very dark in some ways because it was impossible to not have that be a part of the record, since it was a part of our lives. But because all the news that was coming out was so bad, we decided we didn’t want to make a really negative record. We wanted to make something positive and almost uplifting to transition with everything that was going on.

That’s pretty ironic, since a lot of more positive bands had their darkest or most negative music come out during the pandemic. That’s an interesting take. Do you have any plans in the works for the next record yet? 

Yes, we definitely have some stuff in the works. We haven’t started demoing yet, but we’ve been compiling ideas for songs. We’re focusing on the release of this records right now, but we will definitely have something else soon.

You’ve been making sludgy, heavy music for a while now, and while metal trends may change, to me at least, I feel like you pioneered the modern take on this genre back in the ’00s. Would you agree with that, and how does it feel to have been playing such a heavy and definitive style for this long? Are there any newer bands you’re really into? 

I feel like trends have changed musically. It seems like death metal is really popular now, and we love that. We’re certainly not a death metal band by any means, but I love old-school death metal, and there are so many new, young bands right now that are playing essentially what the genre sounded like in the late ’80s, early ’90s. So that’s really cool.

As far as sludgy bands from the first decade of this milenium, Baroness is great, but there aren’t that many bands that are still going. They’re not exactly new, but e do love Primitive Man. They’re just so heavy, negative, and really crushing it. They’ve really mastered the sound. There are a lot of bands still continuing this sound. And really we wouldn’t know how to play anything else, but we still love to play this style of music.

Order Clandestine Transcendence here.