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LORDS OF BLACK Icons Of The New Days

By Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor
Friday, May 18, 2018 @ 1:49 PM

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Icons Of The New Days

Frontiers Music Srl - 2018

It has to mean something when even just reading the song titles of an album conjures up a sense of the epic. Such was the case when I was checking out the track listing for the new LORDS OF BLACK album Icons Of The New Days.

Fronted by the in-demand singer Ronnie Romero, the band is being touted as part of the Frontiers label's "New Breed". And at first listen, the band certainly makes a case for all the hype. With Romero coming to worldwide fame after being picked by Ritchie Blackmore to front the reactivated RAINBOW as well as working with THE FERRYMEN and CORELEONI, you might think LORDS OF BLACK is all about the singer, but you'd be so very wrong. This disc is as much a showcase for guitarist Tony Hernando as it is Romero. He co-produced the album with MASTERPLAN's Roland Grapow and the guitar work is both heavy and electrically charged throughout. The band has a new bassist in Dani Criado, but it was Hernando who played the bass parts on the disc too. As for drummer Andy C., his work on the kit not only gives the music a killer foundation but helps enhance the songs in his own right.

I listened to this album online so I heard the main 12 tracks included, but I should note that the deluxe edition of the album contains a bonus disc. It has 2 more original tracks ("The Maker And The Storm" and "When Nothing Was Wrong") as well as 4 covers of songs by QUEEN ("Innuendo"), ANTHRAX ("Only"), BRUCE DICKINSON ("Tears Of The Dragon") and JOURNEY ("Edge Of The Blade"). The latter song happens to be one of my favorite JOURNEY songs so I'll be tracking that down for sure.

LORDS OF BLACK waste no time in grabbing ahold of the listener as they open the album with "World Gone Mad" and the album's title track. (You can see the videos on KNAC.COM HERE and HERE).

The sense of the grandiose is immediate with "World Gone Mad" thanks to a 90 second intro that will fuel any music lover's imagination. The guitar work from Hernando is particularly outstanding here and on the title track. Both songs will make the blood coursing through your veins flow that much faster.

Despite being labeled by Blackmore as having a voice that is a cross between Ronnie James Dio and Freddie Mercury, I think Romero's vocals are significantly his own style. While he doesn't have the same kind of operatic tones like Mercury, the power displayed is outstanding. I also like how he has a grittier edge incorporated into his vocals.

The band puts the hammer down for most of the album, adrenaline charged rockers making up the majority of the songs. However, the way they add little flourishes helps make different songs shine a little brighter. On "The Way I'll Remember", there's a slick piano intro before the music's tempo then increases and explodes out of your speakers. Smartly though, once the vocals start the main verses slow down a bit and then becomes more of a balls out storming of the gates during the chorus.

That kind of soft peddle way of starting a song is employed on "King's Reborn" and the album's closing track "All I Have Left". The former moves from the opening stylistic choice to a crushing groove gets the heart thumping. Throughout the song, the pace shifts back and forth. As for the closing track, it's well over 11 minutes long, making its case for deserving that "epic" label for sure.

I thought "Forevermore" was a bit one note in its execution. The guitar solo felt way too repetitive to me as well. The song "Not In A Place Like This" has a brisk pacing but took me a few listens before I really got into the song.

Beyond that, the album is filled with one ample serving of aggressive yet substantive rock and roll. The way they switch up the vocal delivery on "Fallin'" gives the song a nice mix of tempos. There's an ominous undertone to "The Edge of Darkness", a hard rocking number that has a dark lyrical vibe to it. While "Long Way To Go" might not inspire an immediate sense of having to hear it based off the title, it is a straight up rocker that burns with a fiery intensity. Quite simply a killer tune all the way around.

The two songs that had titles that really made me want to hear them were "When A Hero Takes A Fall" and "Wait No Prayers For The Dying". The titles sound quite literary, but instead of getting lost in any kind of manufactured self-indulgences, both songs instead just go for your throat in a take-no-prisoners approach.

"When A Hero Takes A Fall" is lightning quick and finds the band so locked in that you can't help but bang your head along with the number. As for "Wait No Prayers For The Dying", you'll feel it to your core, a hard rocker that will make you hit the repeat button for sure.

In this day and age of significant overhyping of bands in order to get you to buy their product, you are bombarded with "The Next Great Rock and Roll Band" or some variation upon that particular theme. I noticed that Frontiers referred to LORDS OF BLACK as being part of the "next generation of Rock Legends". I know what you are thinking. So did I. It seems like such an overreach, right? But I've got to tell you, LORDS OF BLACK has really got something going for it. The band is tight, they've mostly got the material and though there is that sense of the epic and grandiose for them, it doesn't cross over into pomposity either.

How good is this album? Well, I can listen to it for free no problem. But instead, I'm placing my order for the physical disc because if it is indeed "The New Days", then LORDS OF BLACK are about to become one of the new standard bearers for all things rock and metal!

4.6 Out Of 5.0

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