I don’t travel very often. But when I do, I need some funky, entertaining tune to keep the attention at crisp levels and the energy flowing.
To get there, progressive tunes will be just what the doctor ordered. So I can drive fast, enjoy some road rage, rock weirdly around the car and scare my fellow travelers on the road. Perfect. What better idea than to consult the promo list for some hidden treasure waiting to be uncovered.
So, here I stumbled across the latest promo from a band going by the cvlt-ish name of Lör. Austrian – must be, judging by the name. Right? So wrong and way off target. They hail from Philadelphia, PA. And – by Loki – their début album In Forgotten Sleep is a friggin’ hammer blow.
You would not suspect the extent of the crime by the somewhat simplistic cover art. But their – how to call it – Progressive Power Metal just tramples you into the ground and leaves you wondering what the heck just hit you. And it is then that you realize that this album will just not do as car music. For fear that the trusty carriage would jump from one lane to the other on its own accord. And we don’t want that, no sir.
Lör sports some sort of speedy mix of Fleshgod Apocalypse, their drifting Swiss brethren Xaon and the weird storytellers of Antyra. Now, inject a dose of laid-back Wilderun into the fray from time to time. And we about got the ingredients for this spicy stew ready for the cauldron over that mighty fire.
But it is not so simple. Whilst the songwriting is impressive and impressively complex, it is nevertheless a bit frayed around the edges. The dangers? The somewhat abrupt, chaotic changes of tempi and styles can induce a listener to jump onto that return train. And get the hell out of Dodge back to where they came from.
In other words, Lör rush through their tracks in a somewhat unholy fashion. Speed, when there should be a pause, and samurai-like cut-offs when there should be an interlude. The nerd factor also scores real high on In Forgotten Sleep. So, yours truly might be groovy with all this creative tuning about the soundscape. However, the RMR deck crew will vigorously object to these complex and overstuffed song structures. I assure you.
Yet, the band’s somewhat rebellious total disregard of established styles endeared this bunch of musicians straight in the RMR offices. If a band has the guts to saunter off across yonder style structures the trusty purists established for themselves, they just won a couple of brownie points with RockmusicRaider. So, In Forgotten Sleep boasts this grinding beat and sharp edges that other albums so sorely lack. And this renders their tune highly interesting to delve into.
In addition, you will need to spend time with this album. Not a record to mature with age, but after one run-through it about becomes clear that more layers eagerly await discovery. Also after a while a sort of Middle-Earth feeling sets in like in the aforementioned Wilderun in Sleep At the Edge of the World. This mix between folksy melodies and blood-drawing croak sessions really is one of the main allures of this album.
The epically charged tracks like the refreshing Dusk or the outstanding Eidolon ensure that you do not put this thing down until its bitter end. I really like the gushing growls all of a sudden taken over by dreamy acoustics in Spectrum. And they do that all over the record, coupled with a knack of strategically placed chorus lines they fire off at no notice. That the majority of the tracks are 7 minutes or higher in length is just the icing on the cake and further proof of the pudding.
To conclude, In Forgotten Sleep puts a smile on my face. Rough, tough, fast, and abrasive, yet smooth and dreamy at the same time. All of that delivered in a fresh and exuberant style that I have rarely seen to date. Lör easily set new limits to avant-garde-esque Progressive Metal. Progressive Power Metal to be precise because this is what it is. Powerful stuff. Like a mountain stream in spring, when the wild waters roar down the rocky slopes on their long run towards yonder salty seashores. And where Middle-Earth reigns supreme.
Ed’s note: Congratulations, the record successfully made it onto the 2017 Top 10 Records list!
Record Rating: 8/10 | Label: Self-Released | Web: Facebook
Release date: 11 August 2021
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