Lordchain - Cracked (Corduroy Productions) 2002
Wow! Had to double check to make sure I had in the right cd. 'Cracked' is leaps and bounds ahead of the band's debut. This time 'round Lordchain have released a disc that is influenced heavily by the Sam Taylor school of progressive rock and metal. While not as polished as a Sam Taylor produced project, 'Cracked' features loads of layered vocals laid on top of heavy, downtuned guitars and meaty riffs, not unlike one would expect from Atomic Opera or especially the Galactic Cowboys. As a matter of fact, Lordchain even cover the Galactic Cowboys's '9th of June.' Quite a surprise for fans of progressive metal and art rock. Though provoking lyrics that focus on Christian issues to boot. What more are you waiting for, why aren't you ordering your own copy?
Lordchain - Finding Balance (Corduroy Productions) 2007
I haven't heard a Lordchain release since "Cracked" in 2002. With that CD I remember hearing a big King's X/Galactic Cowboys influence. With "Finding Balance", Lordchain deliver mid-paced, straight-forward, groove based, hard rock and seem to steer clear of the layered vocal melodies and big songwriting of the Galactic Cowboys and have embraced a slightly more modern sound. One of the members is wearing a Disciple shirt in the photo on the back of the CD so it may seem trite to say this, but I can certainly hear a Disciple influence on this album. "Finding Balance" loses the more progressive, artsy elements for a more straight forward hard rock approach.
Upon receiving this CD in the mail, I popped it into my car deck and played it each morning on my way to work for a couple weeks. It took me several listens to begin to appreciate some of the vocal hooks in the songs. "Millstone" and "Slipping Away" come to mind as two of the more memorable songs with somber, sing-along choruses and a strong vocal performance. Unfortunately the album as a whole is a bit dull in that each song possesses the same, slow to mid-paced tempo. There is very little variety to be found here, with a few exceptions. There are a couple ballads. "All I Have" is a emotional, worship song and there is also a melancholy piano ballad right in the middle of the CD titled "Life Aside". "Rise Up Again" offers a short, twenty-second burst of double bass energy towards the end of the song. Also, in the middle of "Turbulence" there is a fast, double bass, thrash metal break that would have been sweet had it not been so short and had it been followed up with a guitar solo. There are very few solos to be found on "Finding Balance" with the exception of some simple, melodic solos here and there. It seems that Lordchain have bought into the idea that guitar solos are not an essential part of quality songwriting, which is a shame because there are some parts of the songs that could have used a shredding guitar solo, such as the break in "Turbulence". "Slipping Away" is one of the exceptions, as this song ends with some nice solo work.
Lyrically, Lordchain are about as bold a Christian band as you can find. Their songs are almost offered as if prayers to their Lord. Many of these songs deal with struggles withing the Christian walk and would be an encouragement to those with similar Christian beliefs.
The production is good for an independent release. Downtuned guitars, bass and drums are all clearly heard. The overall mix isn't overly complex, nor is it too clean. Lordchain do have a dirty, gritty, heavy sound that is bottom heavy without being muddy. Unfortunately I find the lack of variety in tempo and songwriting to leave me a bit cold. I think I might have liked it better if Lordchain had chosen the best 10 songs and released it. It might have made for a more interesting listen. I've actually had the same problem and have made similar comments about the more recent Disciple releases. Those who like the more mid-paced, groove of Disciple's "Back Again" will probably really enjoy this disc.