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A return to the band's origins - 80%

Derigin, December 5th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2014, Digital, Independent

In the wake of releasing their single Dawn, Lords of the Mountain within weeks released another single, Origins, in the same manner and style as its predecessor. When I first heard about the upcoming release of Origins, I was of two minds. On the one hand, I expected and was not at all surprised that its music is professional, quality work showcasing instrumental folk metal at its finest. On the other hand, admittedly, I was a little disappointed. No, I have no disappointment for the music necessarily, but for the fact that it is yet another single. Perhaps my mind has grown weary of the Sloth-style propensity for releasing digital singles in short succession, but there is something to be said for an old-fashioned EP or full-length release. I don't doubt in my mind that, given the chance, a more comprehensive album with a greater selection might fit better with the atmosphere that Lords of the Mountain have taken in both the Dawn and Origin singles. The honest truth is that the single format doesn't suit what they're aiming for in their music. On a typical full-length or EP album, atmospheres, story and settings - the meat and bones that form the "meaning" of the work - grow and develop track by track, composition by composition. A single, as a format meant to tease and show off a single track, doesn't do that justice.

Musically, Origins is similar to Dawn in that it represents a shift of direction for Lords of the Mountain from its standard viking/folk metal origins to, in their own words, the combination of instrumental folk metal and the musical atmospheres of video games such as Warcraft, Skyrim and the Final Fantasy series. In technical terms, the music is what you might expect from folk metal: melodic riffs, steady drumming peppered with compound meter solos. Unlike Dawn, Origins follows more closely with the style of folk metal found in the band's debut release, The Journey Began. Running with a much faster beat and relying on aggressive melodic guitar solos to break monotony, Origins unfortunately fails to capture the atmosphere that the band so adamantly seeks to attain. While Dawn, to this reviewer, feels as though it might suit the atmosphere of a video game world with its slower more compelling composition, Origins lacks that psychological attachment. Don't get me wrong, it's a good sampling of the band's talent for playing folk metal music, but it just doesn't capture the imagination quite like Dawn did. Not even as a battle theme.

Do I recommend this? Sure. Even though like Dawn it's a single track, it's also without-a-doubt well-produced, quality instrumental folk metal. That said, between the two singles thus far, Dawn is certainly the stronger one in conveying the message and intent of the band. As a digital single, at least at the time of writing you can currently find it on the band's Bandcamp. The band also has it available on its website (for free) and on iTunes.