Dead Lord are a quartet from Sweden, specializing in no-nonsense hard rock with a very basic mission- which is to rock your socks off. Formed in 2012, they’ve become one of the names to notice in the rock scene. There has been a resurgence of the whole 70’s hard rock sound in the past 5 years or so with many bands coming out of the wood work like Orchid and Ghost. The vintage sound has its own charm but let it not fool you into thinking that any of this is a mere gimmick. These chaps have got the chops.
Old school guitar riffs, blistering solos and face-melting shredding are just some of the things Dead Lord are well acquainted with delivering. Their latest offering: ‘Heads Held High’ is a perfect example of how something simple and well done can be so enjoyable and reminiscent. The album opens up with “Farewell”, and you are back in 1972 gulping down a pint and clapping your hands. I could not help but detect bits of indie rock / post-punk garage rock influences in the riffs, but I may be looking into the notes a bit too deeply. The solos are full of blues licks, which flow in well with the songwriting. “Ruins” maintains a nice continuity of the vocal melody from the previous song but has the mean attitude from the ‘New Wave of British Heavy Metal’ which then permeates into the next track, “Mindless”. “No Regrets” and “Cold Hearted Madness” sound eerily similar to some melodies laid down by Ghost (or Ghost B.C.) which makes me wonder if both the bands have similar influences. “Strained Fools” is a good change of pace, and while Hakim Krims’s vocals start to sound repetitive by this point in the album, the guitar work by Krim and Olle Hendenstrom is stellar and reminds me of early Iron Maiden.
Speaking of which, “When History Repeats Itself” might be a subtle nod to Iron Maiden’s “Running Free” and certainly has a jive. To follow that up, “Don’t Give a Damn” slows things down and then picks up the pace laying down some harmonized guitar leads with one of the tastiest solos on the record. The title track tricks you into thinking whether Rush’s “2112” just came on the vinyl but brings you back into the fold. The secret behind the simplicity of the bands approach is Adam Lindmark, whose drums keep things grounded and groovy.
These lads do justice to the era they are drawing influence from and would gladly sit well in any AC/DC or Airbourne fan. However, beyond the novelty of the retro sound, there are some issues worth exploring. While the music is fun to listen to and the songwriting is smart, with catchy hooks and melodies to keep you engaged, the singing is one dimensional and often hard to discern from song to song. That is clearly a red-flag and one that won’t bother you much in a live setting but will keep pricking the ears while you’re enjoying the record.
Rating – 7/10
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