Pirates and demons
-- Blacklore --
Review written by Adelnor.
After listening to the first album from the Hungarian power metal band Blacklore (released independently and sent to us by Grand Sounds PR), I was seriously impressed! Instrumentally the release is a masterpiece. From the bass and guitars to the drums, it all sounds great! But I do have some remarks that I will go into detail to in this review.
The main outline
“Legend Of The Lich Pirate I” is a 7-piece story that tells the tale of an orphan who was taken by a group of pirates, led by an evil captain, and later turned into a crewmember. He eventually realises the unacceptable practices of the captain and kills him, allowing the demon that possessed the captain, to now take control over him. Later in life he rescues a lady that ends up becoming his wife, who helps him gain control over the demon and defeat it.
Blacklore said that from the very beginning they wanted to be a metal band with a storytelling fantasy theme, in English along with the appropriate stage costumes. And so that’s what they’re doing! I get slight Alestorm vibes when listening to some of their songs, but I do sense they managed to give it their own creative twist and really make it their own. This band and this debut full-length are a perfect example of how you can form your own original idea from taking inspiration from lots of different artists, and mix it together into something new!
Like I said earlier, instrumentally, “Legend Of The Lich Pirate I” is a genius album! The guitarwork gave me an all-out eargasm! We are clearly dealing with some very talented musicians here that I think have a fair share of knowledge about music theory as well! The harmonies and layerings they use are just amazing! The drums and bass sound amazing too, all by all, a great band of people who succeed at making music that keeps you interested from the beginning to the end of every song, and keep it fresh and creative!
Points of work
Now, for the things that aren’t in line with my personal preference. I like a long extended song as much as most modern metal/rock fans, but I do feel like it was an overused feature in this release. Listening to “Legend Of The Lich Pirate I” in its completion in one go, I found myself wanting to skip on to the next song after listening to already 3 songs that were between 6-8 min long or so. I would’ve preferred if the songs were a bit shorter, with possibly an 8th or even 9th song.
Another thing I’d like to note is that I have my doubts about the main vocals. I often felt like I didn’t understand half of what was been sung, and needed to reference the lyrics a lot. I believe the vocalist could improve her articulation a little, and I also want to encourage Blacklore to not be afraid to let the vocals come through more in the mix. Because now I feel like it’s kind of disappearing a little bit behind the music, which definitely adds to not being able to clearly understand what’s been sung. To add to that, I personally don’t think vocalist Niuve fits the genre. She is, however, amazing at grunting/screaming, as she demonstrates in the song “This town is beautiful,” but I sense that her voice’s characteristics and natural sound do not greatly compliment the type of metal being played. Which, to be clear, doesn’t mean she’s a bad singer in general! I was just missing this extra bit of power that I felt was immediately present during the grunting parts.
- I believe it’s beneficial for small and beginning bands to keep it simple at first and not to overwhelm yourself, which I am afraid Blacklore might be doing ever so slightly. I think this is very ambitious for a first project since they’re making it so much more than just music. But I encourage them to do what they find purpose in of course! Just don’t be afraid to take a step back sometimes, to do things step by step. I wouldn’t want to see a promising band burn themselves out.
- For the next album I would try going for a little bit more extreme metal than it already is now. Like I said, I expect the singer’s voice would be much better suitable for the grunt/scream genre. Or alternatively, have the secondary and primary vocals switched. Maybe get an extra main vocalist to help out the current vocalist.
- Don’t make songs longer than they have to be. I think an 6-8 or maybe even 10 minute song should be a one, maybe two time thing per album max. And other songs should be kept at 3-5 minutes. This way it’s a smoother listening experience, you put less pressure on yourself by having to keep coming up with original and creative ways to keep a song going, it frees room for a greater number of songs which never looks bad on a full-length, and lastly; this way you can make that single 10-minute song into something like a main event of the album. If you would take all the effort you put into making multiple good long songs, and compile that into one genius long song masterpiece, so that the other songs are no longer than 5 minutes. That would make it easier to wow the crowd, and I feel like it might be a good thing to have on a storytelling release. Maybe as the main highlight in the story each album tells?
I’m curious to hear their second album and see if that will speak to me more. But even though I had some things to comment on, I want to encourage people to check out Blacklore! If you like heavy/power metal, storytelling through music and the fantasy theme in general, I recommend you to go check this act out for yourself! Despite the things I personally didn’t like as much, I do believe they have potential. So I wish them all the best in the future!