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Dead To A Dying World played an entrancing show at Saint Vitus (review)

Dead to a Dying World at Saint Vitus

Dallas post-metal collective Dead To A Dying World released their excellent new album Elegy earlier this year, and they came to Saint Vitus last night (7/23) not just for their first NYC show since its release, but for their first show here in six years. (They never made it to NYC in support of 2015’s Litany.) They’re joined on stage for this tour by guest singer Emil Rapstine of fellow Dallas band The Angelus (who also sung much of the clean vocals on the new album), bringing their live lineup to a whopping nine members, including three lead vocalists (Emil plus DTADW’s co-screamers Heidi Moore and Mike Yeager), two drummers, two guitarists, a bassist, and an electric violist (who along with guitarist James Magruder has also played with Sabbath Assembly). All crammed together on Saint Vitus’ stage, the band looked perfectly at home but also seemed like they were bursting at the seams, ready for much bigger stages and even more ambitious endeavors.

It’s no surprise that this relatively young band was able to rope in two former prominent Swans collaborators for their new album (Jarboe and Thor Harris); watching them felt more like watching Swans or Godspeed You! Black Emperor or even a more metallic Broken Social Scene than watching your typical metal band. The secondary drummer played large chimes and bells and other auxiliary percussive instruments in a very similar fashion to Thor during his time with Swans. And the way the songs went through peaks and valleys, putting you in a trance and then pulling you out of it by landing on one of their many memorable guitar or viola melodies, was very in the spirit of Swans and GY!BE. It was truly the kind of live show that takes you out of reality for an hour and sucks you fully into the band’s world.

It seemed last night like DTADW have sort of an “anything goes” mindset, but the show also felt carefully constructed and choreographed. At the times they weren’t singing, all three vocalists would crouch down on the front of the stage — sometimes other members would too — and if they weren’t on the song at all, they would spend the song in the crowd and return to the stage after. The chemistry between Heidi and Mike was through the roof; they’d trade lines back and forth — hers shrieked in a black metal fashion and his roared in a sludgy, Neurosis sort of way — seeming very rehearsed and off-the-cuff at the same time. The soaring sounds of the viola really helped take the songs to the next level, and Emil’s guest clean vocals helped keep the live show sounding as musically diverse as the new album (which most of last night’s setlist was pulled from). The band members all seemed in their own heads, but they were also clearly synced up with each other, knowing exactly when to build to an epic climax and when to quiet down and let an individual member take the lead.

If you haven’t seen DTADW on this tour, I can’t recommend it enough, and you’ve got a few more chances. They don’t have a tourmate, but local black metal band Floods opened the Vitus show. All remaining dates are listed, with a couple short videos from last night, below.

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Dead To A Dying World

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Dead To A Dying World — 2019 Tour Dates
7/24/2019 Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA
7/25/2019 Atlas Brew Works – Washington, DC
7/26/2019 Odditorium – Asheville, NC
7/27/2019 Santos – New Orleans, LA

P.S. for more Heidi Moore, check out her old band Ecocide, a band whose live show unsurprisingly impressed Deafheaven when they shared a bill in San Antonio all the way back in 2011.

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