Sudden changes always yield new results and for better or worse it’s always impressive to witness these changes unexpectedly as they happen. It could be argued that Lord Dying’s new logo along with the far-out album art of Mysterium Tremendum provided some notice but there’s no way to anticipate a shift of this magnitude. There’s nothing wrong with expecting another round of Lord Dying’s beef stew brand of sludge and while it’s there, it ultimately serves as the base color of a much broader portrait.
Categorically, “Envy the End” starts Mysterium Tremendum off on the sludge launchpad and upon blast off it’s pretty clear that Lord Dying’s new propulsion system is high performance. What commences is a logic bending journey through the cosmos that takes half of the album to process. “Nearing The End of the Curling Worm” begins in standard, albeit in slightly more brutal, fashion before abruptly morphing into a melange of sounds that transcends any presumptions of Lord Dying’s sound. In contrast, “The End of Experience” is a lo-fi atmospheric track featuring plenty of clean vocals and pianos that soon gives way to some good old headbanging metal, the sprinkles of existential dread are complementary.
As Mysterium Tremendum reaches its last third of the album, it’s totally fair to question if Lord Dying has phased their way into becoming a prog metal band due to the way they’ve been slingshotting listeners from one spectrum to the other. The most visceral example of this treatment can be found on “Freed From the Pressures of Time” that goes from xylophones to spacey guitar leads to left field death metal style vocals. Game-changing? That remains to be seen, but not lacking in extremity.
“Saying Goodbye To Physical Form” is a sleek reminder that anything can happen on Mysterium Tremendum and simultaneously remaining fun whilst serving as a great way to decompress from such a gargantuan offering. Even though Mysterium Tremendum is in the 50-minute range, it’s still an album that’s better to digest in one sitting as opposed to a track by track dissection that works for shorter albums. Getting back to the change mentioned at the beginning of this article, Lord Dying’s about-face came out of nowhere and it works despite the odds. Mysterium Tremendum is definitely album of the year caliber and rightfully so because it’s more than an album, it’s an experience.