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Tim Grose, aka Lord Tim, decided to form a side project while reigning over his successful Australian heavy metal band Dungeon. Tim felt somewhat overwhelmed with the revolving door of members coming in and out of the band that any new project was not to have the Dungeon name. So, on that day back in 2003, the band Lord was created and it was initially to be quite different, almost experimental to that of his other band, Dungeon.
Under the Lord name, the debut album was released in the same year (‘A Personal Journey’, in which Tim not only did vocals and guitar for, but also bass, keyboards and drum programming), and in 2005 Tim finally put Dungeon out to pasture after 16 years and four albums to concentrate on Lord and make it a fully-fledged band. Joining Tim (vocalist/guitarist) included bassist Andy Dowling, guitarist Maverick Stevens and drummer Tim Yatras. Maverick would eventually relocate to the UK within a year of joining Lord, replaced by Mark Furtner, while Tim left in 2009 after two releases with the band. Tim would be replaced by Damian Costas, which remains the line-up of Lord today.
As Lord was not typically a new band, being referred to as “Dungeon mark II”, they were already established in the arts of writing quality material, with all members of the band contributing to releases from ‘Ascendence’ onwards. The maturity and experience that comes through Lord’s music shows an evolvement from the Dungeon days; with ever-improving song writing that has become more intricate and confident with each album.
The band’s influences from legendary outfits such as Queensrÿche, Helloween and Iron Maiden shine through brightly in a blast of memorable and creative melodic metal in Lord’s latest effort ‘Digital Lies’. It’s appealing that the tracks don’t always seem to follow the same typical structures that this genre traditionally follows, nor have a similar theme flowing through it, aside from paying homage to the NWOBHM.
The catchy melodic harmonies and compositions layered throughout this CD are wonderfully constructed, flowing smoothly like water down a stream; while vocalist and guitarist Lord Tim’s powerful and concise soaring vocals is enough to get you hooked in the first place. Tim has an extraordinary talent for singing and has great strength and passion in his vocals; with a range and delivery that Bruce Dickinson himself would be impressed with.
The twin guitar assault via Tim and Mark is another massive highlight on ‘Digital Lies’, with the two working together as one, delivering sweet hooks and harmonies; while they don’t shy away from supreme solos and head-banging infectious scorching riffs either. One such example of their powerful axe-handling abilities would be the ripping “Point of View”, with pummelling double bass drumming keeping the tempo turbo-charged, the catchy and memorable dual guitar attack can be described as grandiose in anyone’s language.
With so many song highlights to choose from, whether it be the silky smooth harmonies of “Betrayal Blind” and “Walk Away”, the sheer song-writing brilliance with tracks like “The Chalkboard Prophet”, or the passion and catchiness of “The Last Encore”; ‘Digital Lies’ will appeal to a broad range of heavy metal lovers, obviously starting with the die-hard Dungeon/Lord fans, but also fans of melodic metal, power metal and classic NWOBHM.
In the end, Lord’s ‘Digital Lies’ wasn’t intended to reinvent the wheel (or in this case genre), but the quality of musicianship, the depth and diversity of the tracks on the disc, and the overall polished class and catchiness is what will keep fans (old and new alike) spinning this album longer than you normally would. Dungeon originally were one of a handful of Aussie bands leading the way in the early 2000s, and now Lord continues that performance; their success not only with ‘Digital Lies’ but also their preceding releases, possibly bettering what Dungeon achieved in comparison. This is a must have for any fan of melodic heavy metal with power metal influences and a fragrance for NWOBHM.
Originally written for both www.metalcdratings.com and www.themetalforge.com
Digital Lies has been, for some time now, one of my most-anticipated releases for the year of 2013. As most fans of Dungeon and Lord will attest to, despite the little changes in sound here and there, the band ages most gracefully, and on this, the 4th title bearing the Lord name, we have Lord Tim and company playing eagerly and energetically, and with a few new tricks up their sleeves.
Enthusiastic as I was, I may have set my expectations just a little too high, for at first I felt disappointed by what I considered to be too much moderation in opener “Betrayal Blind”. I realize this was a prime single from the album, and announced several months early, but the explosive kickoffs to both Ascendence and Set In Stone left me wanting for a bit more. All this aside, “Betrayal Blind” is a fine song, though not comparable to the band's finest. The subsequent title track, however, with its malevolent introduction, screamed verses seguing into an exceptionally smooth chorus, and exquisite guitar work, is a phenomenal song, and despite its quirkiness (and my usual distaste for sound samples), is probably among my very favorites from the band’s career.
“Digital Lies” represents a veritable launching ramp from which the band goes hurtling into the rest of the album. The fast-paced “Point Of View” has my favorite chorus on the album, and “Walk Away” offers a thoughtful and enjoyable reprieve from all of the heaviness, but it’s “2D Person In A 3D World” that really stands out as remarkable. Mixing social commentary (including the elitism of metalheads, no less) that I normally would not care for with their signature humor, the band succeeds in creating a very entertaining and memorable song that makes me smile every time I think of it.
The remainder of Digital Lies, however, isn't quite up to the same standard, with the exception of a standout in the rousing “The Last Encore”. Choruses begin to fade a bit, and the memorability factor certainly isn't as high during the second half. Guitar work all over the album may have slowed just slightly in comparison to the past couple of rounds, but is every bit as fitting. This is strange, actually, because I almost want to describe Lord as mellowing very gradually from album to album, but Lord Tim’s harsh vocals are just as common, and his more aggressive and rough clean vocals are as good as ever. Perhaps it is just a matter of Lord undergoing smoothing and increasing its melodicism – add this to Lord Tim’s new project in Blackened Angel, and it strikes me as apparent that he is choosing to relocate his more aggressive creativity elsewhere.
My overall synopsis of Digital Lies would be this: while suffering slightly when placed alongside the band's previous dynamite releases, Lord's newest offering is very solid and lives up quite satisfactorily to the band's legacy. However, the Australians may need something a bit more potent or fresh with their next album in order to maintain fans' interest. That may seem harsh, and by all other measures, Digital Lies is an excellent album, but Lord has set the bar rather high throughout their careers, and I'd prefer to see them maintain that standard.
Original review written for Black Wind Metal