Review: The Lord ‘Worship: Bernard Herrmann Tribute’

Bernard Herrmann shouldn’t need an introduction as an Academy Award-winning composer best known for some of the most prominent soundtracks of the 20th century including many collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock. As for The Lord, on a personal level, it ranks highly amongst Anderson‘s output alongside Engine Kid and drone supergroup Ascend.

The Lord ‘Worship: Bernard Herrmann Tribute’ Artwork
The Lord ‘Worship: Bernard Herrmann Tribute’ Artwork

The Lord has also been prolific, with a string of collaborations with… get ready, Dan Kubinski (Die Kreuzen), Robin Wattie (Big Brave), David Pajo (Slint), William Duvall (Alice In Chains) and Marthe; there have also been two full-lengths in 2022 Forest Nocturne and Devotional with Petra Haden. Worship, his latest release, sees a collection of music inspired by the late, great Herrmann, which in conjunction with Laura Pleasants‘ retro-tastic artwork, promises a truly fascinating listening prospect.

Worship: The Church Of Herrmann at just over a minute works as a highly effective scene setter, offering up an ambient slice of beauty to help build the anticipation. This reminded me of the classical intro of Metallica’s Fight Fire With Fire and the effect that had on me when I listened to it for the first time, I was on tenterhooks for what came next.

Psycho: Marion & Sam features heavy slabs of drone goodness that perfectly captures the failing romance of Marion and Sam. The ominous sombre vibes of the original are brilliantly reimagined as you’d expect from a performer of Anderson‘s calibre. Meanwhile Vertigo: The Forest sounds a lot more disturbing, even harrowing, than the original. The added use of volume and overall heaviness gives one the impression that the omnipresent mystery and loneliness are never too far from the surface.

Vertigo: The Dream is slower paced than Herrmann‘s more frantic score and accurately evokes the surrealist terror of James Stewart’s character. Citizen Kane is largely considered to the best film ever made, especially the iconic Rosebud opening sequence. The track then faithfully mirrors the eeriness of the original before monumentally crushing doom laden riffs come into the picture ala Sunn O))). I’m sure director Orson Wells would have been proud if he’d the opportunity to hear it.

This is a wonderful, ambitious work and a fitting tribute to one of the finest composers of our time…

I recall Fantômas covering Cape Fear on the classic album The Director’s Cut and while I love that interpretation, in The Lord‘s hands, the track takes on a far more sinister hue, the doom metal inflections hitting the ideal tone of that film. Fahrenheit 451: The Reading is a couple of minutes longer, but then that can be expected considering the drone genre in which Anderson plies his trade, the swarths of distortion gel beautifully with the tracks more orchestral moments. Magnificent.

As someone who’s not usually drawn to French cinema, it was unsurprising I’d never heard of The Bride Wore Black, a revenge based thriller directed by François Truffaut. The Bride Wore Black: Moranes’ End sonically chronicles the build up and eventual slow agonizing demise of Moranes (by suffocation), eerie and uncomfortable it achieves its desired effect.

Our return to Hitchcock for the final track on the album Vertigo: Scottie Trails Madeline (Madelines first appearance), could be seen as symbolic of Scottie’s growing fascination and attraction, what with the sweeping orchestration that gives the piece a majestic and romantic feel. This contrasts with the otherwise sense of foreboding evoked by the track’s heavier elements, thereby providing clues as to the truth about Madeline. The perfect concluding track.

Although not essential, it may prove beneficial for listeners to view and listen to the source material so as to get a sense of what The Lord is attempting to achieve here. This is a wonderful, ambitious work and a fitting tribute to one of the finest composers of our time.

Label: Southern Lord
Band Links: Bandcamp

Scribed by: Reza Mills