II Review

artist: Lords Of Black date: 04/01/2016 category: compact discs
Lords Of Black: II
Released: Mar 18, 2016
Genre: Power Metal, Heavy Metal
Label: Frontiers
Number Of Tracks: 14
Lords Of Black, the heavy metal group featuring new Rainbow frontman Ronnie Romero, step forward with their second studio album of vicious heavy metal.
 Sound: 7
 Lyrics: 8
 Overall Impression: 7
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overall: 7.3
II Featured review by: UG Team, on april 01, 2016
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: One of the best kept secrets in the current melodic heavy metal scene, Lords Of Black have largely been gathering momentum in the rock scene for several years, performing small headlining shows and gathering opening slots for larger groups - that is, up until Lords Of Black frontman Ronnie Romero was recognized by Ritchie Blackmore to serve as the new lead singer for hard rock icons Rainbow during the band's 2016 resurgence. This has left many longtime rock advocates to turn towards Lords Of Black, curious (and understandably so) about the voice who will be maining the main microphone during this initial set of dates in Europe later this year, while ultimately discovering the vicious breed of harmony-driven heavy metal which Lords Of Black previously lined out with their 2014 self-titled debut and now continue forward with on their sophomore installment "II."

While it's general practice to address the vocals in the following section, Romero bursts right through the speakers on songs such as "Tears I Will Be," where he demonstrates his bold lower register before ripping loose gritty falsetto during the song's anthemic refrain. There's a unique combination of engaging down-tuned rhythm guitar, piano playing, blistering percussion, concrete bass lines and choice neo-classical shredding during the solo which leaves quite the impression on unfamiliar ears. Then there are the headbanging selections like "Merciless," which bursts right out of the gate with the unity of palm-muted tremolo picking and decapitating drum lines, highlighted with faint amounts of symphonic arrangements rounding out the mix. This stylistic assortment is less than revolutionary, granted, however the execution and sound attributed while adding Romero into the fold attributes a sound to Lords Of Black which gives the tracks strong replay value. There's a halfway point within this chemistry, which falls through with "Everything You're Not" where articulate piano playing gains momentum with high voltage through Romero's snarling lyrical delivery during the song's refrain, backed by the double bass pedals, crunching distortion and adrenalized tempo. While undoubtedly containing high amounts of modern melodic heavy metal, the band still wears their influences on their sleeve and attributes small doses of vintage rock into the mix on "II," particularly with the covers of Queen's "Innuendo" and a rather appropriate "Lady of the Lake" by Rainbow. The members of Lords Of Black increase the dosage on the Queen rendition through a darker execution, whereas "Lady of the Lake" is kept close towards the original version and, while doing so, shows just why Blackmore was interested in including Romero in his reincarnated Rainbow lineup. Vacant of a real weakness in regard to the album's track listing, Lords Of Black deliver a rather solid presentation of their sound through twelve hard hitting compositions (aside from the two hard hitting covers) which should be appealing to interested fans.

// 7

Lyrics: Ronnie Romero is surely a powerful talent with a commendable range, which at times conveys similarities to Dio, Johnny Gioeli, Freddie Mercury and Tony Martin. Obviously the cover of "Lady of the Lake" demonstrates his potential to step right into the Rainbow lineup and become that vital vocalist, however it's with such songs as the aforementioned "Tears I Will Be" and "Everything You're Not" that Romero showcases the variety of his range and ability to accommodate the atmosphere of the piece, alternating between razor-edged snarls, soaring falsetto and clean mid-ranged whispers. // 8

Overall Impression: Lords Of Black deliver a sophomore studio album which accommodates the wary expectations of casual Rainbow listeners, yet more importantly continues to progress upon the melodic heavy metal style of their debut installment with the aptly titled "II." The album offers several noteworthy selections that represent this band's approach and constitute a purchase, assuring that there are hefty volumes of potential to be found with this rising unit. // 7

- Lou Vickers (c) 2016

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