Any band hailing from my native Pennsylvania that doesn’t associate with the massive Hardcore scene here automatically gets my undivided attention. This is in no mean to suggest that the PA Hardcore scene should be knocked, but there is definitely a level of marginal utility involved in a scene that gets as overblown as it has here. LOR are a bit more attention grabbing than most at first glance given their multifaceted hybrid blend of styles, and yet it is the hybridization at work on their “Requiem Demo” that proves to be something of a double edged sword when dealing with the contents contained within.
While the epic Power and Folk elements of this band’s sound would suggest anything other than a convoluted sound, that is pretty much what ends up happening, particularly on the two longer songs found on here. During the flying at warp speed chorus of “Song For The Lost” one can pretty well pick up on the early RHAPSODY (OF FIRE) influences, and the galloping ICED EARTH inspired riff work that occur at several points in this song are also a credit to the mix as they balance out the overt symphonic and lighter side of the coin. Unfortunately it’s when all the quirky DREAM THEATER elements come in and out that things take a bit of a wrong turn. I’m confident given the stellar job that SYMPHONY X always does that this format could work, but the changeups in beat and feel always seem to come in at ill-opportune times.
The highlight of this offering is pretty obvious given the time length automatically makes a convoluted structure nearly impossible. “The Dark Cloud” has a good driving beat to it and between the straightforward riffing and idiomatic vocal lines a heavy degree of ELVENKING (back when they were good ala “Heathenreel”) comes into play. This format tends to work best for the band as their vocalist has a fairly plain and attitude-lite sound (think Goran Edman’s work on KARMAKANIC), who proves to be the weakest link in the fold. By and large, the rest of the band is very confident at their instruments and an extravaganza of frenzied guitar solos and drum lines wait any and all who like their music technical.
If the endgame of this band is to play in the same league with the likes of WUTHERING HEIGHTS, which is somewhat close to what this demo seems to be leaning towards, they would do pretty well to up the ante on the Folk/Power metal side of the equation and limit the more Progressive elements to a smaller degree. Likewise, if a little bit of gruff could be added to the vocals it would do wonders for the overall character of their sound. The potential is definitely here, it just needs a slightly harder kick in the ass to get itself into gear.
Pay what you want at Bandcamp.
(Online July 30, 2012)