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Lords of Black - Alchemy of Souls Pt. II Award winner

Lords of Black
Alchemy of Souls Pt. II
by Kevin Lewis at 06 December 2021, 5:48 PM

LORDS OF BLACK is a Spanish Power Metal band from Madrid formed in 2014. In that time, they have been quite prolific with their releases. “Alchemy Of Souls, Part II” is their fifth full-length release in seven years. Part II was released October 15, 2021 via Frontiers Records. With 13 songs and over an hour of killer melodic power metal, this is a record that will give the listener a lot to think about and provide a variety of sonic bliss.

The record opens with a short intro that is merely a setting of the stage for what is to come. “Prelude” leads into “Maker of Nothingness,” a guitar heavy song with a subdued rhythm. The drummer alternates between a simple cadence and quick power hits, fluctuating with ease and grace. The bass tends toward more of a rhythm guitar, often supporting the riff more than tracking the drums. The vocals are clean and clear, staying a bit lower than will be heard later on. There is also a good amount of grit in the voice, giving a bit of darkness to the tone.

Jumping down, we get “Mind Killer,” as song that has a nice fade-in intro with a cool bass line that shifts to the guitar riff. There are added keyboards that give a little more depth to the overall sound. The gritty vocals again darken the tone and give the song a bit of a haunted feel. The one line in the chorus is just so true and impactful, it needs no explanation, “Fear is the Mind Killer.” It’s no surprise they kept the vocals dark and full of horror, this is a scary thought. Fear can stop all progress and paralyze someone, rendering them incapable of action. Truly terrifying.

Death Dealer” comes in on keyboard tones before that rapid-fire guitar riff kicks in. The drums are faster here, giving a more anxious feel, like we’re trying to outrun death itself. The guitar solo in this song has some melodic parts in it, but that shredding section is really what makes this stand out. Again, there are added keys beefing up the song and giving it a more epic feel. Everything is building to the conclusion coming at the end of this tale.

A few songs after running from death, track 10 asks, “How Long Do I Have Now.” This is more melodic and introspective. Can the hero survive? Is this the end? Surely not, for this epic tale is about overcoming adversity and emerging victorious. Here, the vocals go into a higher register, giving a more hopeful tone. The piano/keyboard section at the bridge gives the impression that all will be okay. There is hope.

The epic story wraps with “Sympathy.” This is seven minutes of uplifting guitars and cleaner vocals. The protagonist is deemed the master of their destiny. This is the triumphant song at the end of the journey. The guitars are more melodic, the rhythm is more galloping. This is the victorious march home.

As with many epic tales, this record goes through highs and lows, highlighted well by musical compositions that support the tone of the lyrics. The tempo varies with the needs of the story, faster for fear and anxiety, slower for trepidation and triumph. LORDS OF BLACK really nailed building the feel of the story into the music, using the music for tone and texture. They wrote the music that is the armor the hero wears into battle. This is a most excellent record and should be played over and over to ensure you catch all the nuance it has to offer.

Songwriting:  10
Musicianship:  9
Memorability:  9
Production:  9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Prelude (Alchimia Confessio 1458 A.D.)
2. Maker of Nothingness
3. What's Become of Us
4. Bound to You
5. Before That Time Can Come
6. Mind Killer
7. Death Dealer
8. Prayers Turned to Whispers
9. In A Different Light
10. How Long Do I Have Now
11. Fated to Be Destroyed
12. No Hero Is Homeless
13. Sympathy
Lineup:
Ronnie Romero – Vocals
Daniel Criado – Bass
Johan Nunez – Drums
Tony Hernando – Guitar
Record Label: Frontiers Records
     


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