Band: Dead Lord
Album: In Ignorance We Trust
Label: Century Media
Genre: Rock ‘n’ Roll
Release Date: 25th August, 2017
Let me first start by saying that I am a fan of Dead Lord and I really enjoyed their first two records. With that said, some of this review might read a bit harsher than the rating I gave it below, and I’ll get into more detail on that, but it’s safe to say that I liked this record too, I liked it a lot, but there’s some nagging issues that need to be addressed, I think.
Dead Lord are out of Sweden and they’ve been together since 2012. They’ve released two fine albums before this one, Goodbye Repentance (2013) and Heads Held High (2015), both of which are more than pleasing to the ears. Dead Lord live in a world of highly melodic rock, with lots of twin leads (and by lots I mean TONS), a world where Thin Lizzy rules supreme. Now, this appeals to me like nobody’s business, Lizzy being one of my favorite bands. I’ve always admired how Dead Lord were able to take that influence, and the further influence of other 70’s rock, mix it with some 80’s touches, and come out with a sound that belongs to them. They are to be credited for being spectacular musicians and writing some damn fine songs. When news broke that they had a new album coming out, I was excited to get my hands on it. My excitement dimmed somewhat upon hearing it. On first spin, I was underwhelmed. More of the same, I thought, and while “more of the same” is really damned good, it still felt like treading water. Now, is that a reason to dislike an album? Nope. There are some fantastic songs on here and in fact, if you’re a fan of melodic hard rock, you might as well just go ahead and give this a 10 out of 10 rating, because it’s going to cut your gums and make you bleed.
What’s missing, for me, is the grit. There’s plenty of pretty, there’s plenty of smooth, there’s plenty of rocking, but it feels safe. Thin Lizzy never felt safe. They were smooth and pretty as well, but there was an undercurrent of danger there. This feels…polite. And you wouldn’t think that if you looked at the lyrics, because they are seething, full of anger and frustration, but I don’t feel it in the vocals. I needed more punch, more gritted teeth. It might be the fault of the production, which is so crystal and perfect it makes your ears ring with sweetness. But the riffs have no power, and the drums are great but they have no push. I tried listening to this with headphones and on bigger speakers, and it does have more power when played loudly, but still, there’s something missing.
Take closing song “Darker Times,” for instance. Man, this song cooks. Sizzling leads, frantic pace, lyrics that really tell it like it is. But again, there’s just something not there. This is the heaviest the riffs sound on the record, and they come really close to getting that crunch that makes you grimace with joy. But they don’t quite get there. “Kill Them All” is another example. It tumbles and careens just like it should, but it sounds a little too calculated to my ears.
Maybe I’m just being a grumpy old man.
Dead Lord are their own band. They’re not Thin Lizzy or anyone else, and they only owe allegiance to what exactly they are, and that’s to be themselves. I applaud that because, good hot damn, they’re really good at being themselves. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this record and in fact, there are some great tunes on here. “Too Late” is a prime example of these guys firing on all cylinders, just rocking out like they want to. This record is your one-stop shopping for sweet licks, fantastic solos, and simply remarkable twin guitar work. In a lot of ways, you’ll think you stepped back into time and found a long-lost classic.
In short, if you’re into melodic hard rock, this is going to be your album of the year. The only thing I wish is that they’d toughen that sound up some, give it some grit and heft on future releases. And as you see, despite my grousing up above, this is still an 8 out of 10 album, so go buy it and dig into the grooves.
2. Too Late
4. Leave Me Be
5. The Glitch
6. Kill Them All
7. Never Die
8. Part of Me
10. Darker Times
Total Playing Time: 41:11