DREADLORDS  Death Angel  LP   (Not Just Religious Music)   16.99

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More or less an alter ego of Philly black noise merchants T.O.M.B., Dreadlords emerged a couple of years ago with a uniquely blackened, fucked-up take on ancient blues and folk music, first appearing with a demo that was one of the strangest sounds I'd come across. As a longtime fan of T.O.M.B.'s ghastly black industrial noisescapes, I had certain preconceptions of what another project from those guys would sound like, but they were shattered against the murky, incantatory power of "Going To The Well", still one of my favorite songs from this project, a strange bit of blown-out gothic scum-blues hammered out on amplified banjo that sounded like some deranged cross between Danzig and the murky low-fi cigar-box weirdness of the Negromancy crowd.

     The 'Lords finally delivered their first full-length Death Angel, issued on King Dude's label Not Just Religious Music, and it featured almost all of the stuff from that 2013 demo along with a bunch of new songs, and they're all spectacularly fucked up blots of shambling, hallucinatory madness. It's equal parts ancient devilpunk a la some demented take on Bad Seeds-style gutter blues punk, outsider blues and rumbling black noise, a bizarre concoction served up in mostly short blasts of dank, dark blackness, the growled vocals drifting over the reverb-draped sound of distant electric guitar and primitive percussion, hand drums and tortured banjo, all sounding like you're hearing some whiskey-drunk deathcult whipping themselves into a sweaty fervor in some blighted roadhouse on the edge of a charred wasteland. There's also stuff like "I Live In A Cemetery" that sounds like primitive black metal being played by derelict hillbillies on busted guitars, broken amplifiers and someone banging on a ratty, hand-made drum; and the title track works a grittier, more soulful vocal delivery around ominous acoustic guitar, smears of far-off synth and the rattling of bones, almost like some wretched Nephilim-esque death-folk. The album has a hollow, distant feel to the instruments, like you're hearing them clanking and buzzing up from beneath the floorboards, a ramshackle atmosphere that evokes their visions of snake-handlers, Appalachian devil-cults and backwoods blasphemy.