Lanfear – This Harmonic Consonance
In my recent push to familiarize myself with the bands playing this September at the ProgPower USA festival, I made a great discovery: a German progressive/power metal group by the name of Lanfear. To be quite honest, Lanfear’s style of metal isn’t all that unique at first glance; given that it is less melodic than most power metal and less complex than most progressive metal and features no orchestra, saxophone, or didgeridoo, there is nothing on the surface that makes it unique or sets it apart from any other band playing the same kind of metal. However, their releases have been consistently very good, and their upcoming installment is no exception.
Said upcoming installment, entitled This Harmonic Consonance, sees the band remaining true to the trajectory established by their more recent albums: it features a series of relatively succinct, energetic progressive metal tunes that don’t try to impress the listener with anything apart from their sheer quality. There are quite a few neat ideas here, beginning right away with the instrumental intro “Giorno del Giudizio” (Italian for “Judgement Day”) and its lead-in to the much heavier “Colours of Chaos,” which in turn quiets down for a brief section before bursting back into headbanging glory. I could go through the entire album like this, but the point is clear: the guys from Lanfear know how to craft songs in such a way that they remain interesting – one could say “enthralling” – without relying on any bells and whistles to spice things up.
Other highlights, if you’re curious, include the middle-eastern flavoured “Camera Silens”, the dynamic, eerie “Word Not Spoken” and the surprisingly melodic closer “Disharmonic Consonance”. However, I’m sure other people would pick other songs; there is nothing half-hearted or mediocre here. Every song speaks to the band’s impeccable feel for the music; they know exactly when to turn the distortion off and let the keyboard take over, when to introduce a new melody, and when to let loose with some heavy riffs. The rhythm section also deserves a mention, as Bassist Kai Schindelar and drummer Jürgen Schrank do an excellent job throughout the record of keeping the music varied, building and releasing tension in a way that is sometimes unexpected but never unnatural.
Ultimately, the best word to describe This Harmonic Consonance is “refreshing”. As much as I love my avant-garde symphonic progressive folk metal with a full brass ensemble and accordion, it is great to hear a band that can consistently impress without presuming to be anything special in the first place. If there’s anything that Lanfear has shown us, it is that no-frills progressive metal is very much alive and still very relevant. Bravo!
Tom’s Rating: 4.25 out of 5
As there are no songs from this album on Youtube as of yet, enjoy the following trailer and the title track from Lanfear’s Another Golden Rage (2006).