I bet you've never heard of Peter Stenlund, Jonas Stenlund and Jonas Cederteg, right? But I guess that the names of Jeff Scott Soto (TALISMAN, Yngwie Malmsteen), Marty Friedman (MEGADETH), Kee Marcello (EUROPE), Mattias IA Eklundh (FREAK KITCHEN), Rob Rock (IMPELLITTERI, ROY Z, Axel Rudi Pell, JOSHUA and Dennis Cameron), Howie Simon (Ken Tamplin, Glenn Hughes, Jeff Scott Soto) and Ed Roth (IMPELLITTERI, COOLIO MAYA) should definitely tell you something, at least partly.
What all those names have in common? Well, the first three basically are LAUDAMUS from Sweden, the rest is a whole armada of famous guest musicians that they could enlist for their album "Lost In Vain". The first release of LAUDAMUS actually dates back to the year 1992, a single titled "Be There Forever/Overlord", but "Lost In Vain" is only the second complete album and if you see the impressive list of musicians they could win over, then you automatically expect quite something.
Musically the trio from the north of Sweden treats us with a mix of Melodic Metal and traditional Hard Rock that reminds me of a whole bunch of bands and - which is not so usual - it takes a few listens to actually get into it, at least it took me a bit until I did. At the beginning I had been less than enthused about what was contained, but after a while things began to open up, even though I still am not fully convinced of every song and passage, but still…
The crunchy opener "Lost In Vain", the very catchy "My Heart's On Fire", the speedy "I Am" or the excellent "Salvation" are all together very good cuts that really warm ones heart, if you are into this style. Oh, what the style is more exactly you ask? OK, that is a question that can quite easily be answered. LAUDAMUS present us with the big choirs and catchy choirs of the Eighties, crunchy guitars and a damn powerful production out of the hands of Ken Tamplin, not the typically Swedish sound, but kind of a mix between the Swedish and the American school of this sound, which we do not get all that often, do we?
Even though I am not sure, how much of an impact the assembled celebrities actually had on the outcome of the album (it doesn't state anywhere in the info on which tracks who actually participated), LAUDAMUS' second album (oh, they are Christian, just in fact you wondered) has turned out to be an interesting matter, which requires a few more listens and even then not everything works out the way it surely is supposed to be (like the closing ballad "Hear My Prayer" towards its end), but still, it is a worthy check out album for genre fans. (Online July 19, 2003)