Lord is a long running Australian power metal band that originally went by the name Dungeon. They were a solid band under both monikers with some good albums, and I was a casual fan of their work. At some point after 2009 however, they completely fell off my radar, and were it not for a few of their songs surviving on my running playlists, I might have forgotten them for good. When I saw a band named Lord appear on the murky surface of the promo sump, memories came rushing back and I waded in to confirm it was the same deity. Indeed it is and sixth album Fallen Idols finds them in good fighting shape, playing the same blend of traditional and power metal I recall, but with a few surprises mixed in. This is a pretty diverse platter, with some songs cutting close to classic Euro-power, while others take the olde school route and still others explore extreme environs. It works more often than not, and the band, led by singer/guitarist Lord Tim, is talented enough to handle the varied stylistic shifts well while delivering solid song writing.
Things open in an aggressive manner with “United (Welcome Back)” which tracks to the heavier moments of the Stu Block era of Iced Earth. Big, crunchy riffs team with Lord Tim’s aggressive screams and thrash-ready vocals for a powerful gut punch, transitioning to slick Euro-power mode in time for a big, melodic chorus. It’s a catchy, easy to digest blend of styles and the extra heavy delivery is a big selling point. “Immortals” keeps the burly crunch but pairs it with more melodic vocals and another big, infectious chorus, while standout cut “Nod to the Old School” trades in some of the heaviness1 for a mix of Annihilator, Riot and Stratovarius, high on the hook factor and sure to stick in your flesh. Truth be told, I can’t stop spinning this damn song.
Other high points include the memorable power ballad “Counting Down the Hours,” and the rousing closer, “Master of Darkness,” which is a polished slice of Euro-power with enough punch to please almost any metal fan. It’s one of the best songs the band has penned with yet another winning chorus embedded within. They take chances on “The Edge of the World” which is full on thrash, and while it’s a decent effort, it doesn’t hit as hard as their more traditional fare. That said, there isn’t a bad song here, though “Wilder Than the Wind” feels a bit flat and took multiple spins to grow on me. The band does however struggle with editing at times, with a few songs running 1-2 minutes past their prime, thereby limiting their impact (“Immortals,” “Kill or Be Killed”).
Lord Tim is a very good vocalist for this kind of music, able to sound menacing on the harder stuff, and soar with the eagles when the power metal cheese is served.2 His occasional use of thrash and death metal vocals is a nice touch and adds a bit of spice to the proceedings without making the material sound too schizophrenic3 Lord Tim and Mark Furtner are ace guitarists and their riff-work often reminds me of Annihilator‘s Jeff Waters, though Iced Earth‘s John Schaffer is well represented too. The tandem really dazzles come solo time with a series of fluid, flowing runs that grab the listener by the ear and make them air guitar along.
Fallen Idols is a fun, diverse platter of metal borrowing the best parts of several genres, and it’s good enough to make me feel guilty for not keeping up with the band more closely. Lord is never going to be the main attraction in any particular metal genre, but they’ve always been dependable, consistent and easy to enjoy. Fallen Idols is no different, so check it out and get you some metal religion.