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Lapis Lazuli is a Swedish metal band from Hammerdal. This guys’ first output was released back in 2006, figuring 5 tacks, and untitled Last Hour. This demo is almost 38 min of play, combining power and progressive metal, in addition to classical and orchestral elements. In spite of the fact that this was self released, I would say these guys did a great job concerning production, and I mean this was well produced. The instruments here are easy to distinguish, and the sound is so clean and tidy.
On the songwriting side, as I said in my introduction, this band uses wide different musical styles, a mixture of power progressive metal, done just right. The main key in this release is definitely the keyboards, and Timo Hautamaki is the man behind this great feature. Here, in this demo release, the piano dominates the sound; Timo did a decent job playing attractive piano melodies and lengthy solos in each track. He also creates a great atmosphere spread throughout the songs. The other instruments plays a second role most of the time, but certainly adds a huge thatch among the process of the musicianship. The guitars are mainly in the background, but looking so good with some great riffs and alluring solos, as the one played in the song “Archangel”; however, you would notice most of the time a back to back role with the keyboards, which looks firmly good. The drums and the bass are so strong too, the drums range between fast to mid paced, with some great double pedals occasionally. The bass complete this uniqueness with solid lines, fitting well with the guitars; they added a heavy sound and progressive thatch.
As you can see, Lapis Lazuli is a band fronted by a female, and Marie is the one who adds the candy on the top of the cake. Marie is very talented singer, and she did a wonderful job chanting operatic vocals. Her voice is so beautiful and peaceful, and therefore enjoyable to hear. Apparently, she sings with heart, I was totally impressed by her performance in the song “Nature’s call». Meanwhile, occasionally, harsh vocals and male vocals appears with great strength, it supports and varieties the sound, again done by the mastermind Timo Hautamaki.
All in all, this is a debut release, and yet it’s too professionally done. Last Hour has quality in all aspects. This was a start, and the band hasn’t released anything after this demo, but for those who are reading this and interested in more of their music, I would inform you that they are writing a new material. Likely, the debut full length is coming up late this year, so you really should keep an eye on this band. Recommended for fans of Nightwish and symphonic metal in general, go ahead and buy your copy of this unique masterpiece.
Written for Encyclopaedia Metallum 13-09-2010