Having set the tone with their self titled debut EP in 2019 in which they created slow, crushingly weighty Doom that Worships the Amp like an altar and rides the riff like a surfer rides a wave, Richmond Virginia Doom Metal quartet Lair entered the studio in July 2020 record this sophomore record with Yavé Rust, who also handled mixing. The band, who’s line up is made up of guitarists Anne Marie Dumain and Jared Cresswell, vocalist and bassist Read Urban and drummer Andrew Griffin then handed their work to Zach Weeks at Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou’s God City Recording Studio, in the heart of the Witch City, Salem Massachusetts for mastering.
Anyone who is familiar with Lair will tell you that they specialise in longer tracks that build with a slow burn and “At Our End” is no different. It may only consist of two tracks but it still clocks an impressive 26 minutes, so don’t think for a second that you’re being short changed on this one. “At Our End” laments mankind’s existence with a slow bluesy sense of self immolation after a final pass out of existence bong rip with a mournful sense of defeat. Urban’s vocals are the sound of the hanging man struggling against the rope with drawn out lines that rattle around the brain like a loose screw inside a child’s toy. Then comes the wave of destruction as the tempo shifts up with a tidal wave of haunting leads against the crushing bass tones and some gargantuan roars before things slow back down the the calm raging fires of total annihilation, an epic tragedy over the better part of twelve and a half devastating minutes. “Forced March” then takes a darker, haunting and sinister twist with a bassline that trembles like the ground beneath a tank and gives that same sense of impending doom to all those hiding in the rubble hearing it. Leads creating an almost etheral quality as the float over the top of the crushing percussion and play out in an extended call to the demon guardians to open the gates of hell and let terror reign with an all consuming fire. There is the sense of the monolithic but tempo nuances and subtleties escape its grip while also being a mesmerising, spell binding and at times shoe gazing beast during longer instrumental sections before Urban’s caustic vocals rise from the darkness and wake you from any slumber [8/10]
At Our End
“At Our End” by Lair is out 19th February via Hand Of Death Records and is available over at bandcamp