The sharpest entry of this band’s catalogue since Ascendence

It’s been six years since Wollongong’s true metal warriors have delivered a full-length album of new material, leaving fans of their heavy riffing storm-the-walls heavy metal to be satisfied with the occasional EP of rarities and re-issues.

While the cover art of Fallen Idols hearkens back to the demonic fire of 2007’s Ascendence, there are subtle hints at change: mainly, in a move that seems strangely counter-intuitive, LORD’s huge spiky logo has been relegated to an italicised regular font in the bottom corner. Less immediately noticeable is that with the CD-only bonus tracks omitted, this is a shorter-than-usual album from this band, another pointer to discrete changes when it’s considered they once released an EP that ran for more than an hour.

What is essentially the same about LORD on Fallen Idols is their music. Gone are the intro tracks, spoken word parts, overly long mega-epics, experiments with orchestration and wildly over-the-top guest-laden instrumental freak-outs, but the songs are all better for it. LORD is better for it. Because while those things sometimes added a sense of fun or grandiosity to LORD’s albums, most of the time they simply weren’t necessary. Fallen Idols takes things back to the basis of their sound: pure heavy metal that is catchy, pacy, resplendent with solos and hooky choruses, pummeling drums (from on-again, off-again collaborator Tim Yatras) and LORD’s signature thick riffing.

Focusing on what they’re best at and cutting out the fat means that Fallen Idols has some of the strongest songs this band has yet put together. There are highlights right across the board, from the Priest-like opening of “Kill or Be Killed” to “Counting Down the Hours”, a  well-placed, heartfelt power ballad slotted between the chameleonic crusher “Chaos Raining” and the heavy chugging “Edge of the World” and earlier tracks like “Wilder Than the Wind” and the appropriately titled “Nod to the Old School” that explore metal’s heritage.  Along with a couple of bonus covers of lesser well known tracks by Australian mainstream stars handled with LORD’s usual twinkle-in-the-eye aplomb, Fallen Idols is the sharpest entry of this band’s catalogue since Ascendence.

  1. United (Welcome Back)
  2. Immortal
  3. Fallen Idols
  4. Wilder Than the Wind
  5. Nod to the Old School
  6. Chaos Rising
  7. Counting Down the Hours
  8. In Dreams (bonus)
  9. The Edge of the World
  10. Kill or Be Killed
  11. Master of Darkness
  12. Break the Ice (bonus)
  13. Touch the Fire (bonus)