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Dragonlore - Lucifer’s Descent

Lucifer’s Descent
by Rachel Montgomery at 14 January 2020, 3:25 AM

DRAGONLORE is a traditional Heavy Metal band with a sword-and-sorcery vibe that should please listeners. However, the hit-and-miss musicianship proves to be a problem. It’s clear they can sing and play their instruments well, but where there are parts that are great, there are parts that sound sloppy where it’s clear the band can do better.

The album begins with “Lucifer’s Descent”, which propels us with some pounding drums and punching two-note riffs: heavy drums and tuned down guitars. Almost immediately, we’re treated to a melody change and shrill, high-pitched vocals. I’m not sure if they’re supposed to be slightly off beat, but it's noticeable and doesn’t clearly fit with the song. The guitar solo comes in and saves it, using a unique melody and contrasting the previous melodies with a higher notation. The ending is sloppy, with more off-beat, chaotic music and screeching vocals that hurt my ears and… just, ow.

The band is at its best when they’re tight and tone down the bells and whistles. Vocally, they’re at their best in mid-range, as evidenced in “Saved By Love”, a traditional Metal song more in line with 80s Hair Metal, but with a lower edge. It’s clear and neither forced nor shrill. The second verse is particularly noteworthy because the singer does so well: his voice is clear, emotive, and I can tell he can sing from this verse alone. The higher elements in the chorus can be heard as a characterization rather than a flaw in the song, though they can feel overdone by the third round. The instrumentals and vocals are in tight coordination with each other and don’t go off beat. When the solo bursts into a complex, unique melody, it’s wonderful. The refrain is full of interesting harmonies before going into this thematic, soft bridge that’s awesome.

The playing is hit-or-miss through this album, either showing good musicianship or sloppy harmonies that appear to be thematic, but they fall flat in practice. Case in point: “Hand of the Gypsy” is the album’s slowest song and begins with promising acoustics and gentle guitar notes. Then the vocals kick in. At his lower register, they have no power as the singer projects them with a belted projection that sounds off. Then, he goes back into screech mode, which after hearing his lower timbre, I’d rather hear. When the song picks up, the beat is sloppy after the guitar solo near the final refrain and it does the song no favors.

The closing track “Driving Off Demons”, is a good, solid finale, even though it begins with an abuse a wah pedals. Otherwise, the melody’s engaging. The arpeggio melody leading into a sweep is also a good touch, as is the composition. Then, it takes off with the vocals. The lower backup singers give a thematic touch, giving the illusion of possession; speaking of, the shrill, higher vocals work thematically here. The guitar solo has its own unique melody full of sweeps and harmonies that keep the song rolling. For an average album, the closing song is promising strong, and in hindsight, makes the rest of the album disappointing.

Overall, it’s a typical sword-and-sorcery inspired traditional Metal album, using hit-or-miss techniques that tarnish the album as a whole. What’s worse is when the band does it right, they play their heart out, making the glaring missteps on this album more noticeable and less forgivable. With a couple more rounds in the studio, a few more reworkings of the vocal melody, and some tightening up, this album could have been great. As of now, except for a couple songs, it’s a skip.

Songwriting: 7
Production: 8
Musicianship: 6
Memorability: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Lucifers Descent
2. At The Mercy Of Kings
3. Destroyer Of Thee Undead
4. Blood Of The Barbarian
5. Hand Of The Gypsy
6. Saved By Love
7. Witchunt
8. Lord Of Illusion
9. Tomb Of Alalu
10. Driving Out The Demons
Joe Lawson – Vocals
Skip Stinski - Guitars, Vocals
Jim Brucks - Guitars, Vocals
Marty Buchaus - Bass, Vocals
James Marlow - Drums
Record Label: Iron Shield Records


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Edited 10 July 2020

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