Lords of Black - Alchemy of Souls Part I
Frontiers Records
Heavy Melodic Metal
11 songs (57'32")
Release year: 2020
Frontiers Records
Reviewed by Alex

In a recent conversation with my wife, among many other things, she said one important wisdom. In this time of COVID when we feel that a lot of things are out of our control, focus on something bright you can actually choose. So I did. Next time I had to pick something from a to-be-reviewed pile I decided to go with something I don’t listen to very often, something along the lines of power or softer side melodic metal. There was then a Frontiers release by Spanish Lords of Black. I never heard of them before, but the promo writeup sounded enticing. The choice totally worked out and provided the small modicum of mental relief from the pretty tough week of work.

The good vibes spread from the very beginning of Alchemy of Souls Part I. Dying to Live Again, with its polished production, tight base/lockstep drum chugging verse and more flowy chorus with its easy to follow hooks, made a believer of me from the start, and has potential to entice every Kamelot fan circa Karma. Vocalist quality also jumps at you from the start. Ronnie Romero is a hard rocking frontman who can sing with a slightest harshness in his voice, as opposed to saccharine crooning, be powerful in his delivery and hit you any high notes you want without resorting to scream. He reminded me of Johnny Gioeli, of Axel Rudi Pell fame, and given this similarity I couldn’t push out those comparisons throughout Alchemy of Souls Part I. Upon further research, Ronnie Romero has been a part of Rainbow recently, and what is good for Ritchie Blackmore ought to please your discerning heavy/power metal fans.

With some, very slight, synth accent on guitars (Dying to Live Again, Sacrifice), involved solos, but without resorting to artificial, sound engineer induced heaviness, Lords of Black roll through the album, varying moods and rhythms song to song, not to get stale, but never losing quality from their sights. Deliverance Lost is up tempo with blizzardy guitars, Into the Black is more hard rock, Tides of Blood is slower and therefore heavier, Disease in Disguise is just as edgy, while Sacrifice presents a polyphonic drama. The turns in the songs may be unexpected with Brightest Star starting slower, but steadily climbing the ladder. Closer to Your Fall begins syncopated, but relaxes into more of a streamline. And when you expect piano led Shadows Kill Twice to grow balladic, the band opts instead for some actually predatory riffs. The fans of aforementioned Kamelot, Axel Rudi Pell, and probably Evergrey, due to darker overtones and progressive tendencies added in slight equal measure, need to discover these Spaniards before too long.

Long tracks are always a challenge for me with power metal, but the title track, in all of its 10’ glory, never feels that long. It opens up with acoustic flamenco, has piano moments, extended heavy parts, builds up its epic performance to just the right apex levels and comes off very organic, rather than forced. I understand doing something this long is actually Lords of Black trademark of sorts, so they certainly mastered that art.

Judging from the fact there is Part I in the album’s name, Part II is to follow. Not sure if my moody selection will be there to sample it years down the road, but heavy/power metal fans need not to miss it.

Killing Songs :
Dying to Live Again, Deliverance Lost, Shadows Kill Twice, Alchemy of Souls
Alex quoted 86 / 100
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