August 5, 2019 Lord of the Lost – Till Death Us Do Part (Album Review)
If you are as prolific as Germany’s Lord of the Lost there’s no shortage of material available for consideration in crafting a “best of” collection. Thus, Till Death Us Do Part is understandably quite the hefty anthology, culling together all of the Gothic Rockers’ finest work from throughout their 12-year career and beyond. Napalm Records delivers the impressive package to salivating fans on Friday, August 9th, 2019.
Since 2018, Lord of the Lost has released a double album, Thornstar, a live DVD/album, Confession: Live at Christuskirche, the 5-track Ruins EP, six music videos, and more. Certainly not resting on their laurels, the rockers have opted to gift fans something extra special for the upcoming fall: the epic Till Death Us Do Part. Available in a multitude of formats—from vinyl to a single CD to a 4CD mega-box—the breakdown of the material is fairly straightforward: a 19-song Disc 1 that contains the actual best of; an 18-song Disc 2 containing rarities; an 18-song Disc 3 full of remixes of the band’s music; and a 14-song Disc 4 full of demos and a super sweet bonus track. If you want to devour all 69 tracks, you’re going to have to suck it up and purchase the 4-disc set.
The best of portion of Till Death Us Do Part opens to its namesake, “Till Death Us Do Part,” originally off the band’s 2010 debut, Fears, but re-recorded for this anthology. Next, the powerfully stunning trio of “Loreley,” “Morgana,” and “Black Halo” represent 2018’s Thornstar. Offering an average of three tracks per studio album, the collection regresses backward from 2016’s Empyrean (“Drag Me to Hell,” “In Silence,” “Raining Stars) to 2010’s Fears, which receives only one proper representation in “Break Your Heart.” Interestingly, this format provides a very clear and concise gaze at the evolution of the group’s sound, highlighting their talents and strengths throughout the length of their eclectic career.
While most bands stop after the best of pickings, add 1-2 new songs or rarities and then call it a day, Lord of the Lost have plenty more stamina. The second disc, full of rarities, explodes into the futuristic blast of “One World No Future,” which moves flawlessly into the lush electronics of the bespelling “Death Doesn’t Kill You But I Do.” The album then meanders through sixteen additional tracks, everything from heavy synths to the honest face-punch of balladesque “The Most Radical Thing To Do.” There’s also a truly phenomenal Spanish version of “La Bomba” featuring Der Schulz (Unzucht) and Erk Aicrag (Hocico, Rabia Sorda). For fans of the Swan Songs series, there’s the beautifully intimate piano, string and vocal ballad “Morsal.” Conversely, bass heavy sing-along “I.D.G.A.F.” goes haywire with its middle fingers proudly raised, which is actually highly representative of the disc as a whole, as heavy rocking tracks outweigh the beautifully emotional ballads.
The remix CD contains remixes of Lord of the Lost’s material from the likes of BlutEngel, Solar Fake, Subway to Sally, Dope Stars Inc. and more, along with some quirky surprises. For those that prefer the more eclectic side of Lord of the Lost, this album offers a more diverse sound profile than its heavier predecessor. Here, you can find Chrom’s catchy, danceable remix of “Six Feet Underground,” along with Unzucht’s “Afterlife of Death (Afterlife Remix),” a complete reworking of From the Flame Into the Fire’s “Afterlife” and a clear stand-out. There’s also A Life Divided’s dance floor-filling spin on “Blood For Blood,” Stahlmann’s supremely infectious revamp of “Break Your Heart,” and Rabia Sorda’s drum-anchored “Kill It With Fire (But Kill It Good).” However, it is Coppelius’ take on “Blood For Blood” that tosses a wonderful wrench into the works, crafting a beautiful clarinet and pianoforte waltz.
Then there’s the Latin-flavored, lounge act reworking “La(tin) Bomba (Official Not Exactly Very Dark remix),” which coupled with Harms’ howls is quite an entertaining contrast. Meanwhile, Rocksin’s “Die Tomorrow (Swing Tomorrow Version)” will keep you dancing like there is no tomorrow, ditto the club-hopping remix of “Dry The Rain” by PcatchU. However, it is the concluding number of this installment that absolutely steals the show, as harp opens the boldly cinematic “Dry The Rain (Orchestra Version),” a stunning, mostly instrumental take on the original that features the always phenomenal Mono Inc.
The fourth and final disc of demos appropriately begins with the 2008 demo of “Till Death Us Do Part.” Much like the best of portion of the collection, these demos regress backward from 2008 and the band’s humble beginnings to 1997 pre-Lord of the Lost musings. There’s the bespelling, piano-anchored duo of “Sooner Or Later (Demo 2008)” and “Not From This World (Demo 2008),” sitting alongside the darkly lulling, romantic apocalypse of “Nothing Words Can Say (Demo 2008).” It’s not until we dip into tracks such as the grungy “Fragmenting Facade (VAGUENESS version 2004)” that we begin to really hear Harms’ roots and his pre-Lord of the Lost sound.
Then, Lord of the Lost take us deeper into the joyful abyss with a true rarity, one of Harms’ demos from 2000, entitled “Angel7.” In fact, the album closes out with even more rare gems: four of Harms’ old band Philiae’s demos from 1997 and 1999 respectively, including rocker “Revelation 777” and the Nirvana-esque “Heaven Holds A Place.” Plus, fans are likely to feel giddy when they clearly recognize “Prison” in 1999’s “Eclipsed By Eternity,” which flows into an even earlier take on “Heaven Holds A Place,” from 1997. If you ever wondered what Harms might have sounded like 22 years ago, behold! You have your answer. Ultimately, it’s all wrapped up with the super sweet, surprise bonus of the beautifully piano-laden “The Eyes of Love Are Blind.”
If you truly love Lord of the Lost, it’d be hard to find fault with a 4-disc collection that chronicles their entire, exceptional career to date. Intended for the die-hard fans and not just those with a passing interest, Till Death Us Do Part is an epic, nearly endless anthology that highlights an exemplary oeuvre of material from one of the most eclectic and prolific bands in the world. The regressing chronology of the best of and demos discs provides an intriguing and obvious look back, while all of the special rarities and personal demos cap the sundae off with a plump and juicy cherry. Elated with the plethora of material to imbibe, Cryptic Rock give Till Death Us Do Part 5 of 5 stars.