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LORD- Ascendence - 90%

Jet_City_Woman, July 22nd, 2007

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and may the Lord have mercy on your souls…”, and so begins the journey of Ascendence.

For those of you not familiar with the history, LORD is half of what was formerly known as Dungeon. After disbanding at the conclusion of 2005, Lord Tim (vocals, guitars) and TY (drums) have returned, along with bass player Andy Dowling to release the much anticipated first “proper” group album under this name.

After the spoken introduction titled “Echoes Of The Past” it’s straight into “Reborn”. With an epic sounding chorus, huge guitar sounds and some driving double bass drum patterns, “Reborn” sets the bar high for the rest of the album. Lord Tim demonstrates the many different ranges of his vocal ability, and the whole band proves they can play pure heavy metal as good as the best of them. After just a few seconds you realise the anticipation for this album has all been worthwhile, and you are assured that LORD are indeed back in fighting form, picking up right where Dungeon left off.

Before even listening to “Going Down”, note the remarkably true lyrics. This is one of many things Dungeon fans will be familiar with. Upon actually hearing the song you will be tapping your feet along to this catchy track, and guitarists will be impressed by the dual guitar harmonies.

“Same Old Lines” is another catchy track, which will have you singing along to the chorus and no doubt be stuck in your head for at least the next few hours. This is a very upbeat track which showcases yet another vocal style of LT’s. The solos will leave you absolutely stunned.

Queensrÿche fans will rejoice at the sound of “Rain”, a slow, melodic song complete with a bassline intro and Geoff Tate style vocals. Just when you think this song is drawing to a close with the sampled sounds of rain, Chris Brooks takes it away with a guest solo. Due to the departure of original guitarist Mav Stevens at the end of 2006, LORD are still on their quest to find a permanent second guitarist. No need to fear though, for just one listen to “Ascendence” and you will be safely assured that in no way is this album lacking in guitar work. The enormity of the guitars is one of the first things noticeable at the initial listen. A few guest guitarists contributed solos on this album, and both guitarists and non-guitarists alike will appreciate the talent on the six-strings.

“My Own Way” has a very unique intro, however when the chorus hits, the memories of Dungeon come flowing back. TY’s drumming on this song also deserves a mention.

“Through The Fire” is definitely one to be performed live, you simply cannot hear that chorus and not sing along. Chris Brooks and Lord Tim both provide incredible solos once again.

A nice interlude appropriately named “The Calm” precedes the thunderous intro of the killer track “Limb From Limb”. This song has an astounding thrash influence, with harsh vocals and Slayer-like riffs.

“220” is a track that will leave every listener, guitarist or not, with their jaws on the floor. It’s like someone has grabbed a guitar and whacked you in the face with it. An incredibly technical 2 minute 20 second guitar solo played at 220 bpm, which is quite simply a guitarist’s dream. LT and guest guitarist Mark Furtner are lucky to still have their arms intact after recording this song. It’s quite easy to hear this song and be so overwhelmed by the guitars, but the drumming cannot be ignored. Behind this massive onslaught of guitar solos is an equally impressive drum solo taking place in the background.

The final track on the album is a confirmation that the legacy of LORD has begun. “Legacy” is a combination of everything that is LORD, and ends the album on an extremely high note.

Before the album draws entirely to a close let’s not forget the bonus track- a cover of “Shattered” by thrash metal heroes Pantera. This song was originally featured on “The Art Of Shredding: A Tribute To Dime” compilation album but has had some alterations, including redone rhythm guitars.

There is definitely great diversity on this album, no two tracks sound alike (with the intentional exception of Reborn and Legacy), meaning there is something for everyone. This album is a confirmation that the Ascendence of LORD has begun, and that the future will only bring even greater music.