Despite what a name like Bestialord would suggest, the Wichita band’s debut album actually sounds rather clean by death/doom standards. Law of the Burning is a melodic album, though its influence from groups like Celtic Frost, Candlemass, and Obituary can be strongly felt throughout. The guitars match intricate riffs with a fiery tone, the drums generally opt for active rhythms, and the surprisingly enunciated rasps recall a mix of Altars of Madness-era Dave Vincent and Repulsion’s Scott Carlson with a subtle black metal undercurrent.
The results are clean and competent, but the production also makes things sound rather stiff at times. The drums often seem hollow and the guitar tone is stilted, lacking much of the ominous or existential feeling essential in most death/doom. Fortunately, the actual performances are well done and the lead guitars on the title track do occasionally invoke an eerie dread reminiscent of Scream Bloody Gore-era Death.
In addition, the different influences on display does result in some varied songwriting. Most of the songs run the gauntlet of speedy pacing to sluggish doom as songs like the appropriately titled closer “What is the End” prominently reside in the slower end of the spectrum while others like “Vermin” and “I Am Pain” serve as aggressive beatdowns. There’s nothing to really hate about these tracks, but they aren’t too outstanding either.
Overall, Law of the Burning is a decent debut though it needs an extra oomph that would really help Bestialord stand out. The musicianship is solid and the diverse songwriting is welcome, but the artificial production job keeps the band from being a true staple of death/doom. I think a more savage-minded approach and more memorable writing will help Bestialord on future efforts, but their debut may still be worth checking out for a somewhat cleaner look at the genre.
“Law of the Burning”
“I Am Pain”
“What is the End”