Icons of the New Days

Anmeldt av Jens Nepper
(Frontiers, 2018)

Karakter: 4/6

Lords of Black album cover.jpgSpanish power metallers Lords of Black, which is fronted by the hugely talented Ronnie Romero (Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, The Ferryman), recently released this third full-length album of theirs via Frontiers and its 70-minute journey into musically grandiose territory is an interesting albeit bumpy and uneven one. Compared to earlier on, these guys seem to have sharpened their skills in terms of writing more focused and well-structured songs. There is some hefty riffing not to mention some seriously wicked hooks to "Icons of the New Days" that will blow any fan of the aforementioned genre away, but unfortunately, some less than stellar compositions have found their way on to the album that ruin its momentum from time to time. Still, it sounds a little more adventurous and exciting than the first couple of albums did, which is obviously a good thing.

Bombastic and fist-pumping riffs, galloping rhythms, sweeping melodies, and majestic vocals courtesy of Mr. Romero result in an album that certainly captures more energy than its two predecessors did. It also boasts better and more memorable songs with "Forevermore", "The Edge of Darkness", and "Wait No Prayers for the Dying" being three of the best pieces ever written and recorded by the band. Romero's extraordinary Dio-esque vocals take centre stage and infuse the tunes with passion and emotional weight while Tony Hernando's guitar playing is sharp and fiery. Although the production is huge and powerful, it comes across as a little too polished and sterile for Lords of Black's particular brand of metal - and simply a tad too cold and clinical for the annoying taste of this cheapskate reviewer. Going back to the tracks themselves, other highlights include the glorious "When a Hero Takes a Fall" and the melancholy "King's Reborn".

"Icons of the New Days" does sound pompous at times but also ambitious and its insanely epic atmosphere is endearing. Even some of the arrangements are akin to those that we associate with classical music. Either way, it does bring about visions of mighty battles, thunderstorms, warriors, death, triumphs, and wrathful gods, which is to say that it does exactly what any decent power metal opus ought to do. Lords of Black still have a long way to go if they want to compete with the very best metal bands out there, but at least they are moving in the right direction. Although this 2018 record of theirs is not exactly a thrill ride of surprises, it is without doubt the band's most impressive achievement to date and worth exploring for any fan of heavy metal in general.

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