Luthor - Skyweaver

Year of Release: 2004
Label: Independent
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 42:34:00

Luthor is the name of a melodic metal project by Melbournian Dean Burgess, independently created and produced in 2004. Skyweaver is his debut recording, and though it's strongly based in power metal, a number of the tracks are distinctly seasoned with hard, old-school melodic rock.

While there are some great things about this album, there are a number of elements where it is really let down. Starting with the good, then. There is some very strong songwriting happening here, creating a solid base for the project to build on. The title track is a good example of this. The first song on the album, "Skyweaver" is really well-written, with pounding jackhammer riffs leading into a heavy, catchy power metal opener and featuring some great solo work - an excellent choice to usher in this album. "Rain" is a slower rock track, lovely handiwork here, mixing it up between acoustic and metallic guitars, and the chord progressions work well. "Always" also features some good writing, with a nice intro and verse. There's a bit of cheesiness here and there on the album, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, particularly here where it's not overdone.

However, there are some important elements on Skyweaver which detract from my enjoyment of this album. The production is somewhat patchy. Some tracks are ok, but others are rather flat and could really do with the energy boost which would come from better production. A tendency towards overly ponderous playing doesn't help this, with some tracks ? "Evil Eye" and "Mother Sea," for example - tending to drag.

While on the subject of the playing, the technical side of things could be better in places as well. Several solo sections were disrupted by sloppy playing, such as the sweep section in "Always," which if it had been tighter would have worked really well. "I Am" also suffers from this in places. The other thing which really spoils it for me is the vocals. Burgess has a wonderfully expressive voice when he growls, whispers, screams, shrieks and howls, but as far as the straight singing is concerned, it leaves somewhat to be desired. He often sounds strained, particularly in the upper registers, and the tuning can be really bad ? "Take" is probably the worst example of this, with the verse being ok but the harmonization in the chorus being flat as a tack.

Luthor has a lot going for it as a project, and could benefit from three main things. Firstly it needs a good dose of energy juice from better production, though I'm aware that unfortunately, with the costs involved this isn't always an option for independent artists. Secondly, a little more care needs to be taken with the playing, just a tightening of the screws in places. Thirdly, getting a vocalist would be great - a song can be really well-written, but if it's not sung in tune, it just won't work. There's some real potential here and I look forward to seeing what Luthor does in the future.

[This review originally appeared October 2004 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]
Skyweaver / Evil Eye / Mother Sea / Rain / Lady Vampire / I Am / Take / Always / Tears

Dean Burgess - vocals, guitar
Evan Harris - bass
Wayne Dwyer ? drums

Skyweaver (2004)

Genre: Melodic Metal

Origin AU

Added: November 28th 2004
Reviewer: Karyn Hamilton
Artist website:
Hits: 827
Language: english


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