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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