Lechery - Violator 3/5
1. Rise with me
2. Come alive
3. I am the one
4. Hero of the night
5. Your fate
6. What burns in their eyes
7. Slave under passion
11. Open your eyes
Boasting a name that sounds more suitable to a thrash metal outfit is Lechery, a relatively new Swedish band that hovers over that fine line between traditional metal and power metal. The most immediately notable thing about them is that they feature Martin Bengtsson, the bass player on Arch Enemy's 2nd CD, 'Stigmata', in the unexpected dual role of lead guitarist and vocalist.
He proves to be excellent at the first of these 2 roles, and merely above average at the other. He carries a tune well, sounding often like a version Chity Somapala with less range, but doesn't really seem able to stretch himself or offer anything seriously enthralling in the vocal department. Thankfully, as a guitarist he is far more accomplished, and the best parts of this debut 'Violator' are often the superb melodies and solos he has crafted.
Other than occasional keyboard support from 2nd guitarist Fredrik Nordstrandh glazing a few of the songs, Lechery's music tends to be traditional almost to a fault, with spare use of the 2nd bass pedal contributing to a general lack of tempo variety that proves to be 'Violator’s’ greatest weakness. The songs are all very evenly balanced in terms of quality – a few stand out while others are less descript – but with them all being very close to each other in terms of speed and arrangement, and with Bengtsson's limited vocals at the forefront, it creates an air of repetition that makes the 48-minute running time seem longer than it actually is.
The CD really is the definition of 'solid', as none of the songs have anything seriously wrong with them. The "2 minutes to midnight" influenced (ahem) riff that opens the 2nd track "Come alive" sets up a great song, and others such as "Slave under passion" and "Hero of the night" are lifted by superb choruses, with the latter built on a simply unforgettable melody.
As is often the case, the opening and closing tracks prove among the best cuts on 'Violator'. "Rise with me" is an atmospheric call to arms of an opener, while "Open your eyes" features some of the best guitar playing on the CD and closes things on a sombre note. But these better parts of the CD really ought to be in the company of faster songs or at least some that feature notable tempo changes.
This same month I gave 'The scarecrow' (by Avantasia) a higher score than I have assigned this CD, and it seems almost unfair to mark a rock-solid CD of honest endeavour lower than one soiled with more cash-based interests, but the fact remains that 'Violator' is simply too samey to be considered a great effort compared with the brilliance surrounding the crap on German band's comeback. Plaudits go to Bengtsson and his cohorts for a commendable debut effort, but more basic variety will be needed in future releases to ever get them out of mid-table.
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