Lord Symphony – The Lord’s Wisdom
Reviewed by Sebastian Kluth
Lord Symphony is a promising new underground band on the rise. The band hails from Solo, Central Java, in Indonesia and mixes traditional European power metal in the key of Gamma Ray with a more epic and symphonic touch inspired by Rhapsody Of Fire, and then adds traditional Javanese gamelan elements in several tracks. The occasional use of bamboo flutes, bowed strings, gongs, kendang drums, metallophones, plucked strings, and xylophones give this band a rather unique identity. The rest of The Lord’s Wisdom is classical power metal that will convince any fan of the genre. The band began writing the album years ago, and had plenty of time to improve each song before release. This is only the beginning for a band that plans to re-release its first and more obscure record with the new vocalist, as well as add a second part to that album. Lord Symphony is also preparing for a metal opera project in the key of Aina, Avantasia or Timo Tolkki’s Avalon, so I’m pretty sure that we’ll hear from this sextet again.
The songs on this album focus on cinematic atmosphere and long instrumental sections, with fast and melodic guitar and keyboard solos that are sometimes not a far call from old Dragonforce or old Helloween. The vocals of the new singer Arif “Monk Bhodi” Hartoyo are pleasant and powerful, but almost underused at some points, as the instrumental parts are the most prominent feature of this release. Most of the songs are situated between six and nine minutes and take their time to build up energizing and positive atmospheres. There are two short instrumental songs and a shorter transitional track as well, which offer some breaks from the more challenging material. If you include the bonus track (which is a cover of Helloween’s “Kings Will Be Kings”), the band offers sixty-eight minutes of epic power metal over twelve tracks.
It’s worth taking a look at the English lyrics as well. This conceptual release tells the story of a warrior that comes home from war. He feels guilty and has to fight his inner demons after having killed many people on the battlefield. The man tries to find his peace of mind and his way to God. With strong, spiritually-inspired lyrics, the band wants to prove that metal can have positive spiritual messages, and that it’s not always about filthy lyrics and negativity. I would say they’ve succeeded.
What about the most outstanding tracks on this record? One of my absolute favorites is the powerful epic “Mirrors”, which opens with gamelan before strong guitar and powerful vocals set in. The energizing chorus has a strong Gamma Ray vibe in my opinion, but sounds better than anything the German band has released over the last few years. The whole song is a pure musical orgasm, but if I had to point one part out in particular, it would again be the incredible musicianship shown in the long instrumental middle. Majestic sing-along passages reminding me of Iron Maiden meet progressive keyboard leads and solos in the key of Spock’s Beard, along with a clever use of the gamelan. I would go as far to call this track the best power metal song I have heard in quite a while.
“Earth Beneath The Sky” starts as an enchanting ballad with harmonious orchestrations that slowly leads into a fascinating symphonic power metal firework. The middle part is pure fast-paced power metal in the key of old Helloween. All in all, this track includes the calmest and slowest, but also the hardest and fastest parts of the whole record in one track, and shows off the entire talent of this band. The short and fast “Down To Holyland” mixes European power metal and the sound of the gamelan perfectly. Despite its shorter length, this track builds up an almost cinematic atmosphere thanks to some oriental folk inspiration, clever use of keyboards, and neoclassical guitar sounds. Even though the song has no poignant chorus, the vocal parts are extremely catchy. In general, the vocalist is surprisingly good on this instrumentally-dominated album.
The Lord’s Wisdom is a feast for any epic power metal fan around the world. Lord Symphony performs with conviction, passion, and technical ecstasy. A few tracks obviously have extensive length, and the shortening of certain track might be appreciated. However, the sextet from Indonesia delivers two absolute genre masterpieces (for me) with “Mirrors” and “Down To Holyland”, as well as many other highly enjoyable tracks such as “Earth Beneath The Sky” and “Devil’s Emotion”. For their next release, I would suggest the band write a few shorter and more concise songs, to involve its great singer a little bit more. Continuing the unique use of the gamelan in power metal is also a must. I’m already looking forward to more material from this energizing band that has all the potential to get an international breakthrough. Don’t forget to check them out!
4 // 5