Lord is a band who should need no introduction to anyone who’s shown even just a passing interest in the Sydney metal scene in recent times. Forming originally as a solo project of Dungeon front-man Lord Tim, before rising from the ashes of that band’s demise to become a hulking metal monster all it’s own. Since becoming a full-time band in 2005, the band have gone from strength to strength, with two very well-received full-lengths and as many EPs, all filled with top-notch material that showcases a massive range of influences. This in addition to sharing the stage with some major names in the metal world. The band’s third album, ‘Digital Lies’, is perhaps their darkest in tone to date, yet maintains the standards set with albums past, and brings some hulking new tunes into the fold that are sure to become future classics.
With ‘Digital Lies’, Lord Tim and returning members Mark Furtner (guitars) and Andy Dowling (bass) are joined by drummer Damian Costas, who despite joining the band prior to the release of previous album ‘Set In Stone’, is making his full-length debut with the band after his appearance on the ‘Return Of The Tyrant’ EP. As always with a Lord album, the musicianship on display is to be applauded. As always with an L.T. Album, the performances throughout are always on point and delivered with pinpoint accuracy, while still retaining a strong sense of feel. There is liberal use of keyboards throughout this album, and although I often find this can be a detractor in a lot of cases, the keys are used very tastefully to excellent effect. The production of Lord’s albums has been ever-increasing, and I dare say Digital Lies features the band’s best production job to date. With a strong mix that gives each instrument plenty of room to stand out and a level of polish that could rival many big-budget releases, this is the best these guys have sounded to date.
As for the songs themselves, the album kicks off strong and never lets up from there. Fans of the bands’ vintage power metal styling will find a lot to like in tracks like opener proper ‘Betrayal Blind’, ‘Point Of View’ and in particular ‘Final Seconds’. All these tracks show a band clearly in their element, with blistering riff-work, pummeling drums with a constant barrage of double kicks and L.T.s’ signature soaring vocals making for a couple of very strong selections that would kill in a live environment. For those in the mood for something leaning more on the heavier side, ‘The Chalkboard Prophet’ is a raging thrasher with some absolutely punishing guitar work. It doesn’t hold the heaviness through the whole track, with a mellow passage of acoustic guitars and understated keyboard work proving a surprising yet effective change of pace before going into some blistering solos. When this one gets heavy though, it’s definitely the most brutal track on show here.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have tracks like ‘Digital Lies’, a mid-paced number with a more rocking vibe to it, and a series of well-implemented electronic samples to really set the tone of the track. Album closer ‘Battle Of Venarium’ is really unlike anything else here, an 8 and a half minute epic telling the story of the first battle of a young Conan The Barbarian. With a strong combination of some solid grooving riffs and the majestic keyboards setting the scene and giving the track a massive feel, the narrative takes the front seat over the music here to good effect. For me though, the absolute highlight of the album has to be ‘The Last Encore’. An immensely catchy heavy metal track with a faster tempo, this track features an excellent sense of melody, fantastic duelling guitar passages, a luscious acoustic passage and some of the most intriguing lead work here. Really, it’s everything that makes Lord great rolled up into one track. Definitely the highlight of the album, and for me, up there with the very best this band has ever put to record.
‘Walk Away’, a groovier mid-paced heavy metal track with a soothing cathartic tone, and the insanely catchy upbeat rocker ‘2D Person In A 3D World’, which showcases the band’s influences from the commercial metal of the 80’s to a great effect. Short instrumental track ‘Because We Can’ follows in the style of the last album’s ‘Be Our Guest’ (only without the massive list of guest appearances), with a pack of blazing power metal riffs underscoring some amazing lead guitar work from Mark and L.T. These tracks are well placed within the album and make for a nice change of pace, and a chance for the listener to unwind for a moment between the blistering power metal and the sprawling epics. The album closes with a re-recording of ‘Footsteps In The Sand’. Labelled as a bonus track, though available on all physical copies of the album, this track definitely benefits from the huge production upgrade from the original version (on Lord’s debut, ‘A Personal Journey’) and the inclusion of a full line-up. Simply for familiarities sake, the original still takes the cake for me, though this is a fine update of a truly classic Lord track and a worthy inclusion.
Overall I can’t help but give this album a glowing review. It seems like Lord can do very little wrong, and the trend certainly continues with Digital Lies. There’s not a weak track here, and a few of these tracks are destined to become classic Lord tracks and long time setlist staples. I’ve been listening to this album non-stop for over a week now, and don’t see that trend ending soon. Perhaps the strongest Lord album to date! Regardless, an incredibly strong release, and one that deserves to be in any metalhead’s collection.
Release Year: 2013
Reviewed byMatt S.