Lords of Black
‘Alchemy of Souls Part 1’
FFO: Dio, The Ferrymen, Masterplan, Blackhearth, Carthagods, Nightfear
Ronnie Romero may currently be one of heavy metal’s most coveted vocalists. With his Dio-esque voice the frontman has wowed metal fans globally fronting the likes of Vandenberg and The Ferrymen as well as the more prestigious role in front of the microphone stand for Rainbow. But for all these high-profile positions, Romero is still at home in his parent band Lords of Black who have released their fourth studio album ‘Alchemy of Souls Part 1’.
Now, there was some issue last year when it was announced that Romero had left Lords of Black; imagine the suspense and the talk in the metal community about who will/is able to replacement the little Chilean with the massive voice? The answer was, well, Romero, who returned to fold as Lords of Black drop debatably the album of their career. The problem with Lords of Black was always that their lyrics were never really more than average and many of the tracks bordered on just that tad too long and with ‘Alchemy…’ it would seem that Lords of Black have addressed one of those issues. Both the lyrics and delivery from Romero have arguably got better with each album, particularly with Romero working with other bands and styles and it reaches a zenith on this album. Tracks such as ‘Into the Black’, ‘Shadows Kill Twice’ and epic power metal feast that is the title track all have the hallmarks of a band firing on all cylinders. Furthermore, ‘Sacrifice’ has the ability to make any prog fan smile with its keyboard intro that is reminiscent of Rush during the ‘Signals’ era. However, the main issue with ‘Alchemy…’ is that once again, the tracks feel just that little bit too long and whilst the music from Tony Hernando, Dani Criado and Jo Nunez is virtuously excellent, it does sometimes have that overarching feel that it is just missing that little piece or oomph and without their vocal talisman, it can’t be helped thinking that it would be rather generic.
‘Alchemy…’ is a big step forward for Lords of Black, they are very good at what they do and each release has the band pushing themselves and it would be nice to see if the band can keep up this momentum with the inevitable Part 2. There are some brilliant songs here that only grow with each listen and hopefully with ‘Alchemy…’ the band may begin to shake the stigma of: “oh… the bloke from Rainbow” because they deserve so much more than that.