Germany’s Lord Of The Lost have garnered a respectable following over the years across the Goth, Industrial and Neue Deutsche Härte / Metal spectrum. Never a band for sticking to one style, both musically and visually, Lord Of The Lost have shifted gear once again, as they debut on Napalm Records by unleashing a very special, fully-orchestrated album entitled ‘Swansongs II’.
Expectedly, as with any release from a band I’m already familiar with, I’m excited to hear that opening first song of an album, but to my surprise, although jaunty in pace with a dramatic chorus, ‘Waiting For You To Die’ proves disappointing. Usually an album opens with the strongest, most impactful song and maybe the band themselves felt this was the ideal choice, but I have to disagree, mainly because Chris Harms’ gravelly vocals sound forceful and strained, grating against the sublime orchestral string arrangements. This style of vocal has its place for sure, but unfortunately I just don’t think it fits here.
Despite a rocky start, there are many songs to follow and plenty of time to turn things around. Luckily it doesn’t take long, as ‘Lighthouse’ hits like an emotive sledgehammer. This song, with its supportive, encouraging message and outpouring of human spirit, has me hooked in and on multiple listens it’s fast becoming a personal highlight, not just for this album but amongst other stand-outs within their back-catalogue too. The beautifully rich orchestration is complimented by a much smoother vocal tone and the well-crafted dynamic shifts serve to enhance the emotive ebb & flow of the words.
Moving onward, ‘The Broken Ones’ begins with a dramatic, sinister-sounding intro that leads into a gentle, creeping verse. The chorus features a highly emotive vocal passage and rich strings, accentuated by a fluttering piano arpeggio throughout. This is followed by ‘My Better Me’, which sounds like an orchestral take on the Dark Country genre, making suitable use of Chris’ gravelly vocals this time around. For me it has a similar atmospheric vibe to Blues Saraceno’s ‘Evil Ways (Justice Mix)’ and their version of ‘Run On’, or Johnny Cash’s rendition of ‘Hurt’. The more I listen to this song, the more immersed I become. Following the amazing ‘Lighthouse’, these are two cracking tracks worthy of highlight status.
The second half of the album leans heavily in favour of slower-tempo songs with the hauntingly grandiose ‘We Were Divine’ and the lighter, yet slightly somber ‘Ribcages’. In complete contrast, ‘From The Brink Of The Other World’ features a downbeat, almost funereal musical arrangement, but with a positive, defiant message within the lyrics.
The album closes with a literal swan song in ballad track ‘Fall Asleep’. This raw, highly emotive and soul-bearing song reveals all, leaving virtually nothing to interpretation. The song-writing and lyricism is superb and serves as a fitting end to an extra-special first outing as part of the Napalm Records family.
The main strong-points of this album are the lush, emotive orchestral arrangements and stirring, thought-provoking lyrics, which range from painfully honest and fragile, to pugnacious and hopeful. Whilst it’s not without its flaws, this is solely attributed to my comments on the opening track’s vocal style and any other criticisms I could possibly find of the rest of ‘Swansongs II’ are so minor that I would consider it nitpicking and certainly nothing noteworthy. Let’s hope this release will mark the first of many great chapters in LOTL’s repertoire with the label.
02 – Lighthouse
03 – The Broken ones
04 – My Better Me
10 – Fall Asleep
‘Lighthouse’ (Official Music Video)
‘The Broken Ones’ (Official Music Video)
‘Waiting For You To Die’ (Official Music Video)