If your looking for gnarly, heavy intense stoner doom then Poland is a good place to start your search, the country is awash with some of the gnarliest and heaviest stoner doom bands you could possibly ever hope to hear, the gnarliest and probably the heaviest being a foursome from Warsaw going by the name Dopelord. Dopelord, Grzegorz Pawłowski (guitar); Piotr Zin (bass/vocals); Paweł Mioduchowski (guitar/vocals) and Piotr Ochociński (drums), have hardly put a foot wrong since their formation in 2010, the band releasing a series of albums that have seen a steady progression in both the bands musical ability and their songcraft. That progression continues unabated with the release of their fourth album "Sign of the Devil", an album that finds the band experimenting with a slightly broader musical palette while still maintaining their signature heaviness.
Piotr Zin introduces first track "The Witching Hour Bell" with a low rumbling bass line before Piotr Ochociński's drum crescendo announces the arrival of the rest of the band, the song suddenly exploding into a low slung proto-doom groove decorated in throbbing down tuned riffage, courtesy of Paweł Mioduchowski and Grzegorz Pawłowski's guitars, and embellished with clean, slightly sneered, monotone vocals. As an opener this song sets the bar high but that bar is about to go up a few more notches before you reach the end of the album as the suitably blackened sludge monster "Hail Satan" testifies to, its mix of harsh and clean vocals roared over a backdrop of throbbing doomic refrains is imbued with scorching guitar solos and swirling synth-like sound effects that take it to a whole new level of intense. "Heathen" follows next its thundering groove and spiraling guitar motifs the backdrop for some surprisingly lilting, if a little gravelled, vocal harmonies. The lysergic and ambient opening bars of, the wonderfully titled, "Doom Bastards" is somewhat of a respite from all the heaviness that has gone before it but this is Dopelord so its not too long before the band start ramping up the both the atmospherics and the dynamics and we find ourselves enveloped in a wall of doomic majesty few bands working in this genre could hope to match. "World beneath Us" boasts probably the cleanest vocal of the album laid over the dirtiest, gnarliest groove of that same album, a groove decorated in majestic blues flecked guitar solos' played over a backdrop thundering percussion and growling grizzled bass. Dopelord bring things to a noisy conclusion with "Headless Decapitator" a short but striking nod to the bands punk roots played at breakneck speed and packed with angsty shouted vocals and crunching chords., it's a song that sits slightly at odds with the rest of the album but is nevertheless a fun way to close what is an otherwise intense and heavy stoner doom album.
Very few bands can boast a catalogue of albums that are all intrinsically different but still posses an unmistakable signature sound, Dopelord however are one such band who can make this boast. From the very first note of "Sign of the Devil" the listener will know they are listening to Dopelord what they won't know however is where this band will be taking them next.
Check 'em out ….
© 2020 Frazer Jones