My Veneration

rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. Dead Or Dying
02. Show Them Your Power
03. List For Lies
04. Veneration
05. Non Defectum
06. My Veneration
07. Dead And Gone
08. Crooked Smile
09. Heaven Burn
10. Hallowed Be Her Name
11. Digital Lies
12. I Stole Your Love (KISS cover)
13. Hole In The Sky (BLACK SABBATH cover)

The follow-up to last year's much praised "Reach For The Stars" debut, "My Veneration" suggests that Dan Lorenzo (HADES / CASSIUS KING / VESSEL OF LIGHT) and Johnny Kelly (TYPE O NEGATIVE / DANZIG) are becoming a very reliable source of dark, gritty and unpredictable metal. PATRIARCHS IN BLACK are a stoner/doom band in many respects, but thanks to a revolving cast of vocalists and other contributors, this sidesteps all the usual generic pitfalls.

Lorenzo's seemingly bottomless pit of great riffs has been enthusiastically excavated again here, but with the likes of Karl Agell (ex-COC / LEADFOOT),  Mark Sunshine (UNIDA) and, gloriously, Darrell "DMC" McDaniels from actual  RUN DMC popping to throw down vocals, "My Veneration" is plainly too diverse and inventive to be dismissed as blithely traditional riff worship. Instead, it sounds like Lorenzo and Kelly have had the time of their lives in the studio, albeit while playing some often black-hearted and bleak material.

Many of these strike a shrewd balance between stoner rock thunder and strutting, abrasive hard rock, but there is variety and gentle subversion at play here too.

"Dead Or Dying" is PATRIARCHS IN BLACK's core sound in a red-hot nutshell. With giant doom riffs, a soulful, belligerent vocal from Agell, and Kelly's effortlessly groovy drumming, it sounds like a master class. "Show Them Your Power" ups the tempo and welcomes Sunshine to the mic for a more resolutely upbeat, stoner-adjacent jam. "List For Lies" gives a discreet salute to ALICE IN CHAINS, but it's a New York state of troubled mind that emanates from Kelly's grubby, slow groove and warped SABBATH riffs that Lorenzo pours over sludgy, hip-hop-tinged backbeats and a lobotomized, "Master Of Reality" stomp. To reinforce that NYC vibe, DMC's turn on the eccentric "Veneration" is deadpan, sober and palpably pissed. Over a collage of razor-edged riffs, plaintive violins and malleable tempos, the legendary rap icon does what he does, and it's still as classy as hell.

Adding yet more shades to the PARTRIARCHS' palette, "Non Defectum" is a riff-rock monster that brims with punk energy and the title track is a bloody concrete blues with macabre, gothic overtones. Elsewhere, "Dead And Gone" is East Coast desert rock at its finest (whether that makes any geographical sense or not!),  "Heaven Burn" is a filthy, biker rock beat-'em-up, and "Digital Lies" snaps and struts with dark and funky intent. A fiery cover of KISS's "I Stole Your Love" and a celebratory romp through "Hole In The Sky" (BLACK SABBATH) are sweet and joyous bonuses. The riff, as ever, will abide.

Author: Dom Lawson
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