Thursday, December 19, 2013

#7 of my Top 12 Albums of 2013: Digital Lies

Lord's Digital Lies

Release Date: February 22nd, 2013
Label: Dominus Records
Genre: Heavy/Power Metal

     Looking back at my list, I've realized that many of the entries are of bands that I had never listened to prior to 2013, only three entries not falling into this category, two of which, Tyr and Soilwork, had already shown up on this list.  Despite my infatuation with all things Power Metal, Lord and the associated Power Metal that led to Lord's existence, Dungeon, had slipped my radar and so this is yet another album by a band that I had never listened to prior to 2013.  This deeply saddens me because after listening to this album multiple times through, I have deduced that this band plays the exact type of Power Metal I love.  Digital Lies sounds more like the first wave of Power Metal with Blind Guardian and, more specifically, Helloween, but with a more second wave sound so I would compare it to Iced Earth's latest release Dystopia, which was one of my favorite albums of 2011 and reinvigorated my love for Iced Earth.  The reason I list the genre as Heavy/Power Metal instead of just Power Metal, like the bands I've been comparing it to, is because it really brings out some of the 70's and 80's type of metal sound to it with the guitars and vocals, bringing flashbacks of classic Priest and Accept, so overall this album has a lot of great comparisons, but let's look more into it all.

     As I already stated, Lord is a band that traces its roots to a band known as Dungeon, one of Australia's premier Metal groups in the 1990's that played music very similar to Dungeon but with more thrash/speed elements to it which brings the band closer to the roots of Power Metal by playing music similar to the early power metal albums.  They lasted for about sixteen years until the band called it quits in 2005 and released their sixth and last album the following year.  Founding member "Lord Tim" Grose had created a solo project called Lord in 2003 after accumulating enough material he felt too personal or different for a Dungeon album and released A Personal Journey that same year.  After Dungeon split, Lord Tim decided to continue making this type of music through his solo project Lord and turned Lord into a full-fledged band and not a solo-project anymore, releasing Ascendence and Set in Stone in 2007 and 2009, respectively.  After 4 years, which included a 6-month period of no guitar playing for Lord Tim for medical reasons, Lord released Digital Lies with favorable responses from many including ProgPower USA.

"Betrayal Blind"

     Lord's greatest strength on this album is their ability to construct memorable and infectious hooks, their choruses just soar through the air at such impressive speed and heights that you will simply be blown away by their sheer majesty.  The above video for "Betrayal Blind" is one of the songs that really drives home the comparison to Iced Earth, at least for me, a person who had never listened to any of Tim Lord's work prior to this year.  The chorus that sounds like fifty or so men all singing the song at the same time is very Power Metal-esqe and the faster thrash-y guitars and unstobbale drums is more prevalent in Iced Earth rather than Blind Guardian or Helloween.  Other good comparisons would be Gamma Ray and Mystic Prophecy, the latter of which also released an album this year, Killhammer, but Lord surpassed Mystic Prophecy by leaps and bounds when comparing that album to Digital Lies.  I also enjoy the use of sample in this song, particularly since sampling in metal is largely done by bands closer to the style of Rob Zombie or his brother in Powerman 5000.  This blending of elements is seen elsewhere in the album such as in the title track, "Digital Lies," which has a harsher voice that would be more common in thrash/death metal bands closer to Witchery and also in the song "2D Person in a 3D World," which is a lot more light-hearted and is actually rather funny if you listen to the lyrics, particularly when the singer yells "You're still a douche!"

"Point of View"

     The above song, "Point of View" is also one of my favorite songs from the album and like almost all songs on the album, is quite lengthy. In fact, just about each song ranges from between 5 minutes and 8 minutes long, besides the aforementioned "2D Person in a 3D World", the intro track, and a track known as "Because We Can," which is a magnificent 2-minute long guitar battle.  It is a song that is saying that each day may seem good or bad, and that depiction is simply just your outlook on it and if you want to make it a good day then it is in your power to do so, your life is in your hands.  It is a nice sentiment and is a great "carpe diem" song for those like me that agree with those notions.  Below is another one of my favorites and the first song I listened to from the album, "The Chalkboard Prophet."  this is the song that told me "HEY, this album is pretty awesome, and you need to listen to the rest of it right now."  At 8:13, it is one of the longest songs on the album and has a two minute buildup at the beginning before there are even any vocals and this instrumental section is some of the best thrashy power metal I have ever heard.  Once the rest of the song continues, it sounds eerily like Iced Earth's "Dystopia" (the song) but then the chorus hits and it is easily one of the best-sounding choruses I've heard in a while.  To this day, I listen to that chorus and am still wow-ed at it all and after the first instance of that chorus, there is another almost two minute-long section that is entirely instrumental.  Truthfully, a majority of this song is just the guitars having their way with the beat of this song and pounding out some great riffs, but I am completely ok with that considering it is amazing.  The lyrics are quite good too, speaking of the age-old story of a prophet that tries to warn everyone but no one believes him.  It's not really a new story, its as old as Cassandra of Troy, but the way they depict it all is quite good.
"The Chalkboard Prophet"

     Overall, this is a fantastic album from start to finish, one that made me look further into Tim Lord's career and find other songs from both Lord and Dungeon that I really like, such as "The Art of War" by Dungeon.  If I have to criticism it at all, i'd say that it is a little too much guitar pounding and not enough variation between the tracks, no real ballads or slower pieces to shift the tone of the album at all.  But, if you are looking for near-nonstop energy, something I find myself searching for in many albums, this album is for you.  Other songs I'd recommend besides the ones given are "Digital Lies," "Walk Away," and "Battle of Venarium," the latter of which being one of the most complex and varied tracks on the album.

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