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The power metal genre these days is full of sissies. One could say that it has been like that for 10+ years, but back then the main culprits were the "flower" metal genre innovators like Sonata Arctica and Edguy. These days we have all of these bands’ followers; in particular bands from Italy who have listened to Rhapsody (of Fire) too many times. Remember the days when the term “power metal” referred to bands that were actually powerful like Jag Panzer and Μetal Church? Australia’s Lord hearkens back to those Heavy Μetal bands while also utilizing catchiness for a rather unique combo.
Lord was originally started as guitarist/vocalist Tim Grose’s solo band, which was meant as something different from his main band, Dungeon’s, sound. Their first album was released in 2003. After Dungeon was disbanded in 2005, Lord became a continuation of Dungeon’s sound with new members.
Things start off well enough with “Redemption” and the hard-Rockish “100 Reasons.” One realizes right away that this isn’t a typical Power Μetal album. The lyrics have deeper meaning than stuff about wizards’ dreams and slaying dragons. The lyrics of the ballad “Forever,” in particular, are a lot of fun. It seems to start out with a typical story of “boy falls in love with a girl who is indifferent to him” but it develops into a totally unexpected direction with a twist at the end (no spoilers here). Also, the guitars are much more prominent in the production, leading for a more muscular sound without being overly heavy. The production as a whole is a triumph; not very organic, but that’s fine because they are not aiming for that. Every instrument is heard clearly.
Thankfully the songwriting is up to par with the production. Some highlights include the title track, the aforementioned “Redemption” and the epic “The End of Days;” I cannot for the life of me figure out why they did not open with this song. Oh well, it functions fine in its location near the end of the album. “Be My Guest” is an instrumental which features numerous musicians on both bass and guitar playing solos. This may sound gimmicky, but the results are surprisingly enjoyable.
Lord does not rewrite the book of heavy metal with “Set in Stone,” but they’re not trying to either. What they are doing is helping a genre that has become watered-down and stale regain some of its bite. Record companies take note; Lord is a band that needs to be heard outside of their native Australia as soon as possible! If you happen to come across “Set in Stone” in a local record store, be sure not to miss the opportunity to purchase it.
(Originally published at www.metal-temple.com)