Lanfear - X to the power of ten 4/5

Reviewed: 9-26-08


1. Enter dystopia
2. My will be done
3. Decryption
4. Brave new men
5. The question keeper
6. Synaptogenesis
7. Jugglin' at the edge
8. Just another broken shell
9. A twin phenomenon
10. The art of being alone
11. Seeds of the plaque

This is the 5th full-length CD from the German band named after their favorite Forsaken, and a follow-up to the stunning 'Another golden rage'. That CD was a stellar work of high, ascendant vocals in powerful and excellently crafted songs, fitting squarely into the mold of clean, clear, straightforward power metal. While 'X to the power of ten' is a notch below that work, and is a clear change in style, it still offers up great progressive metal touched with very well written songs.

Without doubt, Lanfear has taken a more progressive feeling than 'Another golden rage' on this CD, with some additional intricacy, more diverse effects in the production, and a slower and mellower approach overall, although there is still metal bite woven into the aural tapestry of this CD. Despite the change in style, the choruses of many of these songs, like the opener “Enter dystopia”, and “The art of being alone” still contain some of the excellent songwriting that made 'Another golden rage' so great. The progressive tone is applied to the overall feel of the songs, not necessarily the structure and length, which are still relatively concise and focused, and always well written. There aren’t the long instrumental flights of Dream Theater, and instead, the combination of the keyboard sound, the frequently layered vocals, and the overall production, yield a more “lush” tone to the proceedings.

The band has a new singer, Nuno Miguel de Barros Fernandes (whose mostly known for his role in the now defunct progressive metal band Anguish), who is a bit more varied than his amazing predecessor (Tobias Althammer), with most vocal lines more laid-back and mellow, while others a bit gruffer and more aggressive. Still, at times his polished range in the memorable choruses is not so far afield from Tobias (from the band’s 3rd CD and aforementioned 4th CD), and there’s no doubt he’s a beautiful singer. The rest of the band from 'Another golden rage' returns, and they are, whatever your taste in this style, excellent musicians.

Those hungering for only harder-edged and straightforward power metal, or who could not abide a tone any lighter than 'Another golden rage', will be disappointed, and Dragonforce's recent 'Ultra beatdown' or Stormwarrior's recent 'Heading northe' will serve them much better (or, if you’re like me, they make a great counterpoint and change-up), but those who appreciated the band's previous work, and don’t think they would mind a slight change in tone that doesn’t diminish the band’s qualities should give this a try. It’s a great CD, but its enjoyment for each listener will vary based on taste and preferences.




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