August 1, 2018 Lord of the Lost – Thornstar (Album Review)
It has not been all that long since we last heard from Lord of the Lost, but when you’re hot, you are on fire! Keeping the muses flowing, Chris Harms and co. return this Friday, August 3, 2018, with the double-disc Thornstar, thanks to Napalm Records.
We last heard from German rockers Lord of the Lost in October 2017, when they released their Swan Songs II collection, a Neo Classical, artistically moving experience that was a beautiful follow-up to 2015’s Swan Songs. Of course, no one album generally represents these musical chameleons who continually explore new avenues, generally always with a Gothic Rock/Metal edge.
Frontman, and the genius behind it all, Chris Harms, has become known for everything from edgy, sensuous material like “Sex On Legs,” to acoustic and Classical ensembles, to concept albums, to completely random, Latin crossovers like the terribly fun “La Bomba.” This diversity is especially evident throughout the band’s six full-length studio offerings – ranging from 2010’s Fears to the aforementioned Swan Songs II – along with their multitude of other releases.
Leaving no stone unturned, Lord of the Lost now return with the impressively weighty, double-disc collection Thornstar. Here, the boys once again explore the concept album, weaving the story of a doomed high civilization (the Pangaeians) throughout the collection’s twenty tracks. With Thornstar, Lord of the Lost – Vocalist and Multi-Instrumentalist Harms, Guitarist π (Pi), Bassist Class Grenayde, Drummer Niklas Kahl, and Multi-Instrumentalist Gared Dirge – delve into varying sonic territories, never growing complacent and always pushing new boundaries.
Therefore, it seems fully appropriate that Thornstar would kick off with the gritty, stomping rocker “On This Rock I Will Build My Church,” where Harms sings the terribly truthful “I’ve made rebirth my art.” The anthem of a lost civilization or the confessions of a persevering rocker, “On This Rock” kicks you in your iron heart. This, in turn, flows beautifully into the chugging guitars of “Loreley,” a dark Rock fantasy.
Massive atmospheric layers formulate the stunning “Black Halo,” where lamenting strings weave around the track’s haunting core. For “In Our Hands,” Industrial twinklings dust over the echoes of more atmospherics, creating a deeply bespelling offering that will cause you to dance. Meanwhile, the first single/video for the stunningly beautiful growler “Morgana” sees Lord of the Lost soaring to beautiful heights that prove all that cannot be denied about the band – they are masters at their ever-evolving craft.
Next, they dip into more intensely dark territory on the bass-slappin’ heavy of “Haythor” before tackling the moody dirge of the piano-laden “Naxxar.” A few deep breaths clear the senses, and then the sensual “Cut Me Out” delves into the darkest hours of love lost, bearing a naked soul. Here, Lord of the Lost toy with some traditionally Pop elements, but it never seems ridiculous or forced, but rather bolsters their cinematic soundscapes and hard-rocking sensibilities. This continues into the moody stomp of “The Mortarian,” a Gothic glance into the eye of the mortality of a fighter.
“Under The Sun” sees the band dipping their toes into something a little Djent-y with its pummeling rhythm section, and then they dial it down a notch for the dream-a-daisical “In Darkness, In Light,” an atmospheric, synth-laden stomp across the landscape. Next, the steady beat of “Forevermore” delves into intense sonic layering to celebrate being in this together, surviving the trials and tribulations of life. It is an anthemic sing-along that you will love live! Ultimately, the bass-heavy stomp returns for the cataclysmic explosion of “Ruins,” a piano-laden promise to rise again that rounds out Disc 1 of this impressive collection.
Fans know not to remain complacent when it comes to Lord of the Lost, and to prove this fact beautifully, they return on Disc 2 with the dance-a-thon of “Abracadabra,” featuring Dero Goi of OOMPH! Here, they mix club beats with chugging, rocking guitars, creating a wall of sound that is as addictive as it is inspiring to shake your booty. This infectiousness continues into “Voodoo Doll,” a severing of the controlling spell of love, which segues the boys into the deeply intoxicating dirge of “The Art of Love,” a meandering, downtempo intensity; kind of like love itself.
They go fully electric for the Industrial-tinged “Lily Of The Vale,” despite its delicate title, a fully headbanging experience of growling, destructive rage. Similarly, this continues into the angry, Industrialized offerings of “Penta,” a promise that pain should never be wasted. Dialing back this grit, “Free Radicals” is a punctuated rocker highlighted by twinkling keys and Harms’ rich vocal enticements. To end this massive collection, Lord of the Lost crank it back up for “Live Pray Die Repeat,” a chugging rocker that goes gritty, catchy beats alongside Gothic synths.
Here’s the thing about Thornstar: if you want to delve into the story-line, you can; but if you just want to appreciate Lord of the Lost’s talents, this is not a conceptual offering that beats you over the head with plot and character. Which is to say that the songs all stand beautifully on their own as testaments to the band’s abilities, and don’t require extensive background to grasp; just listen and fall in love.
From Industrial to Metal, Djent-y lines to Pop vocal licks, to beautiful piano work, there is really no territory unturned on Thornstar, and, for this, you have to give Lord of the Lost a world of credit. Darkly haunting, beautifully Gothic, CrypticRock give Lord of the Lost’s Thornstar 5 of 5 stars.