Friday, August 25, 2017

review: Lör

[review by MMB]
Lör
In Forgotten Sleep
release date: August 11th, 2017
label: independent
1.Dusk 10:55
2.Dark Cloud 03:03
3.Requiem 07:10
4.The Forest 01:29
5.Visions of Awakening 06:32
6.Song for the Lost 08:28
7.Aura 01:29
8.Eidolon 11:58
9.Spectrum 08:12
10.In Forgotten Sleep 07:51
total time 01:07:07
Old-school prog fans looking to find undiscovered talent should put this American group on the radar. They are not on a label and apparently they gathered together their own pennies to do this album, their debut. From the looks of it, they decided to do things their way and make the album as they wanted without any regard for anyone but themselves.
Is this a proghead's band? Yup, I'd say so. The album is loaded with talent and skill, perhaps too much, actually. The album does sound like they don't care about the rules and they decided to make the traditional progressive heavy metal that they had not heard yet, somewhere between Blind Guardian and Dream Theater, more proggy than Blind Guardian, and more rocking than Dream Theater. Of course, these youngsters don't the have beaucoup dinero to sound as wealthy as those two bands, who spend years in the studio. However, the Pennsylvanians leave no doubt about what's happening here; they thought big and made it as big as they could.
The music is old-school, traditional, melodic prog metal with singing. Who knows, they probably love 70s prog and all those bands that Opeth has been raving about for decades and they probably love classical, too.
Personally, the music is too proggy for me, but there's no reason to believe that you won't fall in love with it. What do I know? Nothing!
For example, the track "Song for the Lost" features one of the catchiest moments. Unfortunately for me, the band gets too proggy and has two transitions. The first two minutes of the song are quiet, almost silent. Then the song begins in earnest, but, in my opinion, the flow is interrupted by another two-minute break/transition. Look, I get it. Why are there these moments of quiet, low-key sounds in the song? Because those are moments that the band wants to convey as the feeling of being lost, lacking direction or being confused. However, the song has not one extended transition but two. The first one can be dispensed with because it does not add to the song. We know that latter-day Iron Maiden loves the long, quiet introductions, but it can get boring when they do that, too (that’s right, I said it, send your hatemail). On the other hand, the middle transition is a lost opportunity. Some of the quiet transition can stay, but then it should be a moment for the band to showcase its guitar might with a heroic solo. That did not happen, but it needed to.
By comparison, the songs "Dark Cloud" and "Visions of Awakening" are excellent examples of the band being effective with the songwriting. They unlock the band's best qualities: the good singing; the guitar playing; the neoclassical soloing and making the music understandable despite the virtuoso skills. I can ride with this until the wheels come off.
"Spectrum" is a proghead's song. Some black metal vocals show up out of nowhere; some acoustic or clean guitars also show up; the song changes mood a bit too abruptly for me, but I guess the prog people love this type of quirkiness, right? I bet you do.
The crucial questions for the band and for the listeners can be summarized as follows: What is this song (the music) all about? Is it meant to go back and forth in a winding road that gets the audience a bit perplexed? If you are the band, when you play the super long and proggy songs, does the audience lose momentum? What do you notice? If you are the listener, do you want the long songs and the showcasing of instrumental skills to this extent? These Pennsylvanians made the album as if there won't be a next one. They put all their chips on the table. Hey, it's hard to keep a band together and maybe they decided to go for broke.
The biggest progheads who like music that's a bit out there will be the main audience, I think, while it might be a bit of a full plate to tackle for other people. If you have the time, this band has the album for you.
halloflor.bandcamp.com
facebook.com/lorofficial

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