With every .zip and .rar file that a reviewer opens comes a whiff of hope. Usually, that hope is merely that a freshly delivered promo isn’t actually a steaming pile; as any contributor to AMG Blogworks and Unicorn Photoshops Incorporated would tell you, that’s pretty much a fifty-fifty shot. With Lör, though, that hope grew into something more. Maybe it was the strange appearance of an unsigned progressive power metal band from Philadelphia of all places (or maybe it was Lör’s use of the most sacred of all metal naming conventions, the umlaut) that drew me to it, but I instantly reserved In Forgotten Sleep when it popped up in our promo queue. A totally unjustifiable anticipation grew in the back of my mind in the weeks leading up to my acquisition of the album; whether it was intuition or sheer dumb luck, my curiosity paid off in spades. Calling this unsigned debut a surprise would be a severe understatement.

Lör reminds me of another North American prog/power/folk hybrid called Viathyn in their execution. Yet unlike Viathyn, who I always found a bit too emotionally anemic to fully embrace, Lör packs emotional depth and breadth. Adventurous, grand-scale keyboard theatrics, thrashing power metal adrenaline, and Wilderun-esque melancholy are all on display, but what immediately made me fall in love with In Forgotten Sleep lies in the way these themes carefully and at times brilliantly coexist in the context of a single song. Lör effortlessly adapts their motifs to fit a variety of moods; a wistful, bittersweet melody in a song’s introduction can, with careful modifications, prove to be just as useful serving as the main hook of a triumphant climax. The band’s penchant for lengthy compositions lends this sonic evolution impressive legs, and unlike many progressive bands, Lör possesses the songwriting and thematic tact required to sustain the longer tracks’ mammoth structuring.

Lör’s epics offer much more in the way of listener engagement than smart construction, impressive though their songwriting chops certainly are. The roads to their delayed payoffs are paved with instant gratification, both melodically and instrumentally speaking; galloping riffs and drum patterns surge forward with thrashing, kinetic energy, while immense choruses offer cathartic peaks without stooping to Disney levels of cornball melodiousness. Indeed, In Forgotten Sleep is defined by its individual successes as much as its long-form victories, with passages like the unconventional acoustic shredding in “Visions of Awakening” and the infectious tempo hike that kicks “Dusk” into speed metal mode, offering two prime examples in a record overflowing with memorable moments. The latter song, which is both IFS’s lengthiest piece and the introductory track, is smartly followed up by the short-and-sweet “Dark Cloud.” A quick blast of Euro-power that echoes Sonata Arctica’s “Kingdom for a Heart” in its arpeggiated leads, it handily serves as an exhibition of Lör’s flexibility in succeeding through short-form material.

A record as unique and nuanced as In Forgotten Sleep practically demands proper production, and while it’s not perfect from an engineering standpoint, I find its sound absolutely charming. The drums pop with crisp, percussive force, the guitars carry warm tones that lend the leads a downright bluesy feel, and the bass is plenty beefy without ever feeling drowned out by the lush, colorful array of keyboard effects. I’m not in love with the level of reverb placed on the vocals as it becomes distracting during IFS’s more introspective moments, but Tyler Fedeli proves himself an admirable frontman nonetheless. Though not the most technically impressive singer, he handles Lör’s dynamic nature with aplomb, offering somber, soft-spoken musings and dramatic expulsions with an unpretentious singing style that makes him an excellent spokesperson for the band. The musicianship gets top marks all around, but Peter Hraur deserves special attention for actually making me give a shit about guitar solos in power metal. His loose, almost improvisational style is executed with a spontaneous feel without ever sacrificing technical showmanship or neglecting Lör’s folk leanings.

I worry that I’ve somehow undersold what Lör has accomplished with this debut. There’s so much I want to gush over that I haven’t even touched on yet; I haven’t brought up the trace elements of death and black metal that can crop up, or even some of my favorite cuts (chiefly “Eidolon” and “Spectrum”). But make no mistake; In Forgotten Sleep is a remarkable record in every aspect, one of the only works in my collection that can justify every second of a seventy-minute run-time, and indisputably my favorite album of the year thus far. Whether Lör can keep up this momentum has yet to be seen, but In Forgotten Sleep already feels like an underground classic in the making.


Rating: 4.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 160 kbps mp3
Label: Self-Released
Websites: halloflor.bandcamp.comfacebook.com/lorofficial
Releases Worldwide: August 11th, 2017

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  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Guys…seriously. …these 4s and 5s are gonna make me one broke rodent…..

    • GardensTale

      Don’t blame us, tell these bands to make crappier music

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        Stupid bands and their not crappy music………

  • a glass o’ milk

    well it does sound better than the new threshold stuff, so might be worth the listen

  • Angelus

    The embedded track sounds awesome! Will check it when available. Thanks!

  • VikingSchism

    This sounds perfect for me, I’ll have to give this a listen later

  • welyyt

    I hate it when great music has terrible cover artwork.

    • I like it. It’s very painterly.

      • Eli Valcik

        I like it too, it looks like a level from Zelda but drawn with crayons.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Van Gogh-ish.

        • Nag Dammit

          As painted by his crazy alter-ego, Van Koch. Sorry, I went there :-(

    • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

      it’s pretty bad, it’s not impressionist enough to be interesting… and there are so many thing I hate about it… the sun has the weirdest reflections in the water… plants are green, sky and water are blue… tree is a circle

    • RuySan

      I really love the cover art. It seems something out of an old children’s book. It’s definitely unique.

  • Lee

    I know my account is 90 days past but please put me in touch with AMG Corporate Finance…..I need an extension and an increase to my MetaLOC!

    • drug_genosh

      those interest rates are infuriating! I expect no less!

    • Great timing. We have a really competitive vig this month!

  • The Akerstache

    Are you guys shills now or something?

    • Well, if giving the occasional glowing review is considered shilling, I guess we’re seasonal, part-time, irregular shills.

      • The Akerstache

        Well could you shill less often please? My current money situation leaves me with just enough money for a couple albums occasionally, so I promised myself I’d only by 4.0s and up, I can’t handle more than one good album a week dammit!

        • We have a wide selection of 2.5-3.0 level reviews upcoming so you can recoup the bank roll.

          • The Akerstache

            More albums to put on my Bandcamp wishlist because they’re kinda cool but I’ll never buy because I’m cheap. Excellent!

          • Berit Dogg

            Too true.

  • metalcasket

    At this point I’m just listening to Eidolon on their BC page for absolutely no reason; since those harsh vocals kicked in I’ve had this uncontrollable urge to throw money at someone.

    • I haven’t listened to Eidolon in a long time. Kinda forgot about them.

      • metalcasket

        I wasn’t even aware of an Eidolon. *googles*

        • David D.

          It is a powerprog band featuring Nils K Rue. I prefer his “what if Symphony X but in space” style work in Pagan’s Mind.

  • Nukenado

    That intro hooked me completely, and those vocals aren’t annoying!
    Yay!
    More awesome music I’m too poor for…
    I don’t feel the reverb is overly distracting.
    Guitar solos in power metal…
    The only guitar solos in power metal I can remember distinctly are those of DragonForce’s due to their extreme wankery (which I feel actually goes well with their dairy bombarding of the listener.)

    During my typing of this comment, my ATH-m40x came in the mail.
    This should be a good track to test them out on.

  • Planex

    Stellar week on AMG

    • Frost15

      Yeah, stellar for record labels too, we made em all rich now…

      • GardensTale

        This band is self-released though.

  • Tim Lavery

    Excellent review and I completely concur.
    Lor is an amazing band.

  • Kurt Kapferer

    It is good to see they have upheld the integrity of the umlaut. I approach anything tagged power metal with caution. This I like.

  • Huck N’ Roll

    Excellent review and yes, this is a fantastic album!

  • Andy777

    This is really good. I’m going to ignore the fact that they call it power metal and buy it anyway. ;)

    • I think this tag is somewhat misleading – of course there are traces of power metal, but for me this is just classic prog in full glory. That’s how I will recommend the band to my friends, and – oh boy, I will do it many times.

  • wayne the devil

    Lor was also the name of Data’s evil twin on Star Trek NG…which in a nutshell means that I have nothing to add to this discussion….

    • Cherd

      On the contrary Mr. The Devil. You’ve enriched us all.

    • lrn2swim

      *Lore

  • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

    Cover artist: “That isn’t how eclipses work”
    Band: “Shut the hell up and paint it!”
    Cover artist: “ok fine what do I know, I’m only 14”

    • wayne the devil

      Looks to be a couple of 14 year olds in the band…watch out for the child labor police, kids….curfew at 11:00pm….

  • Anyone else getting a vague sense of deja vu from the band name and record title? Isn’t In Forgotten Sleep from The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath? Why is this so familiar?

    • Berit Dogg

      I recognize it as well. Clark Ashton Smith maybe? Frustrating.

  • Grymm

    Damn, this is incredible. The embedded sounds (and feels) like a journey from start to finish. I’m digging this!

  • Wöw!
    This can be the best thing I’ve heard this year. Ridiculous amount of awesome ideas seamlessly packed in one song and the whole thing is somehow even greater than sum of its parts. Epic.
    Big thanks for the review (smooth reading for low-level english speaker like me), otherwise I’d never find this gem. It’s hard to believe that this is a debut!
    Bonus points for totally unpretentious attitude showed on the embedded photo.

    • Frost15

      Same position, this could be the best thing I’ve also heard this year.

  • Dave Shellenberger

    Wow. That embedded track is just amazing. I’m really stoked to hear the rest of this album.

  • Kronos

    Dammit this is pretty good.

  • Handy Donut Hole

    I hit that pre order button fucking fast

  • Yolo Swaggins

    August is off to a fantastic start already (cuz it’s my birthday month naturally)

  • Apple Tree

    this makes two records im super excited about that are coming out on this friday. Im really impressed with the tracks that have so far been spoiled on bandcamp from this record, and there are some genuinely brutal riffs on the song “eidolon,” which is really awesome and a surprisingly easy fit for progressive power metal. This is gonna be a good friday
    Edit: the kids in the promo picture look really young, so lets throw money at them to promote their promising musical futures!

  • Cherd

    And the award for greatest album cover quality to music quality whiplash goes to…

  • carrercrytharis

    Who’s that poor guy skulking in the back?

    • Berit Dogg

      The cowbellist.

      • RuySan

        Every band that ever existed had at least one fanboy. Even my shitty band in high school. That guy is clearly Lör’s fanboy/stalker.

  • WhamBamSam

    The week I fly overseas and don’t have as much time to devote to listening the quality of the music shoots way up. It’s a conspiracy I tell you.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    You had me at “Wilderun-esque melancholy” Initially I saw the album cover and thought. here we go another atmospheric folk black metal… Pleasantly surprised anther great album to add to the list!

  • Lithophyte

    They’ve been gigging around for five years according to their bandcamp, so the youngest members must have started when they were about 9. Very impressive.

  • Innit Bartender

    Come on, they are smiling! Clearly, they are posers!

    • Nag Dammit

      In daylight too for that matter and WITHOUT fire

  • Malhorne

    Woha this sounds amazing

    Thanks for the great review Eldritch Elitist

  • Nag Dammit

    Damn, what does the piano melody in the title track remind me of? Is it Wilderun? Guess it would have been easier to listen to it myself rather than type this message out but I’m here now.

  • wayne the devil

    For some reason this smells all over of Evan Berry….which isn’t bad. Awesome Metal. Bought it……

  • Here’s Johnny

    liking it, not sure i’ve fell in love with it the way you have though. singer is a bit off for me.

    will give another listen. pretty great for a self-release but don’t think its anywhere near a 4.5/5. More like 3/5.

  • Gage

    I’d like this if the vocals weren’t so… well… gay

  • Lee

    This cover is Linus finally communing with the Great Pumpkin (a somewhat evil metal looking pumpkin to be sure). There’s a palpable earnestness or sincerity about this release that just yearns to be something bigger. And it works. It is BIG. The vocals work for me in exactly this vein. I didn’t want to enjoy this as much as I am. But I am. There’s a charm here I never expected to find in a metal record. Thanks for the tip and spot on review.

  • John Mosley

    Hmm…. Still on the fence with this one.

  • DoobiousLee

    In my world this cover is Linus finally communing with the Great Pumpkin (a somewhat evil, metal looking pumpkin to be sure). There’s a palpable earnestness or sincerity about this release that just yearns to be something bigger. And it works. It is BIG. The vocals work for me in exactly this vein; as you say, “unpretentious”. I didn’t want to enjoy this as much as I am. There’s a charm here I never expected to find in a metal record. Thanks for the tip and spot on review.

  • Was sold after the Viathyn and Wilderun name drops, as I love both unconditionally. Thanks for the review, I would have NEVER found Lör otherwise. The album is fantastic, especially for a debut!

  • Serjien

    Great review Eldritch Elitist. I am glad I stumbled upon this one, very enjoyable listen!

  • IndignantN00b

    I can count the power metal bands I like on one hand… but this is trve as fvck

  • Strapping Old Fart

    This is prog I like, pan flutes notwithstanding.

  • Strapping Old Fart
  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Wow….this is a stellar album.
    Amazing for a debut.
    At times Sonata Arctica. ….slower pieces Wilderun. ….proggy interludes…..great melodies and hooks a plenty.
    Need to sit with this one for a bit.

  • DubiousLee

    Riffs!!!

  • Southern Madness

    Amazing. It reminds me of Wuthering Heights plus Sonata’s Ecliptica.

  • Akira Watts

    I don’t know how I managed to miss this review last week. This is fucking spectacular music.

  • Levly

    Wow, this is impressively good (and sounds great to boot). I love it when long progressive songs keep surprising you with interesting after interesting segments. Very few bands actually pull it off, most are just faffing about and overestimate their writing skills. Definitely not the case here, these guys are the real deal. I’m in love.
    Thank you for the great review and the great discovery!

  • Nahuel Benvenuto

    Sounds great

  • welp, i’m done trying to write reviews.
    (this album is great, the review is tremendous)

  • azerate

    This album is amazing. Nobody has mentioned it yet, but I smell a hint of Bathory in this as well. It’s also nice that the production quality isn’t very nice, and that they are unsigned. This whole album feels unconstrained and alive, they have so many ideas and they incorporate them. That’s what gets me, usually when bands try to do too much, the album just shatters, but here it seems like there’s still a little space for crazy solos and riffs