Dead Lord play rock music.
Formed in 2012, Dead Lord is a true labour of love for vocalist /guitarist and main songwriter Hakim Krim. Having left his previous band to follow his own musical direction, he gathered his friends Olle Hedenstrom (guitars), Tobias Lindkvist (bass) and Adam Lindmark (drums) and together they churned out Dead Lord's '70s-flavoured first album,
Goodbye Repentance. Owing their sound to Krim's very healthy Thin Lizzy influence, the record set the wheels in motion for what would become their all-important second outing, Heads Held High, marking the band's major label debut as they made the move from High Roller Records to Century Media.
Dubbed as "10 songs of solid no-bogus, face-melting, twin-guitar, smart-rock action" by the band themselves, Heads Held High is the bold follow-up to Goodbye Repentance, now featuring guitarist-turned-bassist Martin Nordin - a childhood friend of Krim's - replacing Tobias Lindkvist. Once again fully rooted in '70s rock, the album sounds almost impossibly warm for a modern day studio production. It's loud all over with the grit of a veteran garage band, welcoming rather than overpowering thanks to its live-and-raw feel. The only thing that's missing is the old school vinyl LP hiss and pop between tracks.
"Maybe that comes down to the fact we play the stuff the way you're supposed to play it when you record" Krim says of the album's warm analog sound. "It's everyone in the same room in the studio, and we just play live and record it. We actually had a reel-to reel tape machine to record this album. Ola Ersfjord, the guy who recorded it, had to demagnetize the thing, clean it up and get it working because it was just standing in a corner collecting
dust. It feels really good knowing people can hear this is something different. I kind of felt like a douchebag walking into the studio and saying 'We need to use that reel-to-reel machine...' but it was worth it. The album sounds great."
Adding to Dead Lord's appeal is Krim's unique voice. Rich in tone, his vocals on Heads Held High are devoid of studio tricks meant to enhance his performance. He stands out amongst his peers based on natural talent, and the songs benefit from the fact he doesn't have a 'typical' polished rock singer voice. Krim's vocals have quickly become Dead Lord's trademark.
"If you know what I sound like you definitely recognize when it's me singing a song," Krim says. "If I could I'd try to sound like Ronnie James Dio, but there's no way I can sing like that. I just use what I was born with."
Heads Held High is unashamedly reminiscent of Thin Lizzy, and Krim makes no apologies for it. The record is also reminiscent of classic-to-legendary hook-laden material from legends Uriah Heep, Bad Company and Led Zeppelin.
Krim credits his bandmates playing a bigger role in arranging the songs for the evolution in Dead Lord's overall sound.
"Whether I like it or not, I think Thin Lizzy influenced my guitar playing," says Krim. "When I first started playing guitar I learned a lot of their songs, and doing that has a way of tickling your 'That's nice!' nerve when you start writing songs. I think the first album sounds more Thin Lizzy-ish than this one. For the new album everyone in the band was involved in arranging the songs and there was a lot of discussion about how we wanted things to sound, so the songs are more us than just me. I'm not that anxious about our music anymore. When I write a song now I don't feel like a I have to think twice, wondering if it sounds like someone else or if it sounds like us."