Lord - A Personal Journey

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Metal Warriors
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 66:42:00

Australia's own metal seraph, Tim Grose, has for many years been known under the lofty soubriquet of Lord Tim - and the frontman of Sydney power/thrash band, Dungeon. Bearing his alias, LORD is a solo album compiled of personal songs from his life, some from before or completely outside of Dungeon, and some which were intended for Dungeon but were not used for one reason or another.

Though this isn't Dungeon, some comparison is in order, as Dungeon fans will be first to seek it out. Foremost is the mood difference; where Dungeon albums are a glorious romp, occasionally silly with themes drawn from fantasy, this is introspective and fairly serious. A Personal Journey is strongly grounded, lacking that basic fun of Dungeon but possessing a certain reflective maturity - not surprising, considering the nature of the album and its purpose. This unfortunately makes it harder to digest. On the musical side of things, it's an early metal style which strongly reminds me of eighties Queensryche (particularly the vocals, which are very Geoff Tate-like at times - try "Freedom" for an example); well-written, and with the moods nicely balanced, this is a very strong album. Also, expect a certain amount of self-indulgent guitar soloing, but this is a solo album after all.

The journey mentioned in the title is one of self-discovery, of facing and conquering one's own inner doubts, standing up for and believing in oneself. Well, I did say it was conceptually heavy. It opens with "The Dreaming," a fat-sounding orchestral [piece] mixed with heavily chugging metal, very bassy. This melts into the ticking clock, ethereal vocals and floating chords which are the beginning of "Footsteps In The Sand," setting the ambience before we get stuck into the chunky bass-laden song body.

Those who have heard Dungeon's rare debut, Demolition, will recognise a refined version of "Reflections," a flowing instrumental with some distinct neoclassical hints. Also listen for another of the instrumentals, "Journey Through Hell." This isn't one of the album's most enjoyable, but it is a very interesting musical soundscape, seeming to pass through several varieties of hell. The opening is one of grinding, mechanical torment, which shifts through a series of frantically racing guitar themes, heavy percussive passages and brief patches of sorrow; throughout there are snatches of wailing guitars in the background, winding through the music like screams of the damned.

"The Traveller" is another interesting one, medieval-themed and using harpsichord and string synths mixed in with the metallic guitars. Slow and strutting of tempo, it is a tale of defiance in the face of rejection. "Behind The Mask" is what I'd consider the heart of the album, the most pensive and the most personal, and with some of the most beautiful melodies. The short and gentle instrumental "Rainy Nights" leads into another favourite and the final track, "Last Rites," a panicky percussive piece dealing with death and the euthanasia issue. It has some impressive use of vocals, more melody lines to listen for (heavier this time) and solo passages; its final moments fade and melt back through snatches of song from the rest of the album, like memories passing, until we hear the clock from "Footsteps" again which suddenly stops ticking - end of journey. Eerie.

This is a great album, though it does have that drawback of being a bit challenging. However, being nicely diverse, and a bit of a change from the usual gungho swords-and-warriors power metal attitude, it's definitely one to seek.

Similar to: Early Queensryche and Dokken

Re-mixed/re-issued in 2005 by Modern Invastion Music (MIM 7345-2 CD ) with a bonus track

[This review originally appeared November 2003 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]

The Dreaming (1:57) / Footsteps In The Sand (6:04) / Reflections (4:49) / Freedom (5:38) / By George! (5:23) / The Richest Man (4:27) / Journey Through Hell (8:47) / The Traveller (5:55) / One World (5:06) / Behind The Mask (7:36) / Rainy Nights (3:35) / Last Rites (7:25) / Bonus Track (2005 edition) The Duel (3:49)

Lord Tim - lead and backing vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, drum programming
Justin Lesley - additional bass
Stuart Marshall - additional backing vocals
Gustav Hoffmann - harpsichord (8), additional backing vocals

Dungeon - Changing Moods (promo) (1995)
Dungeon - Demolition (Japan only, oop) (1996)
Dungeon - Resurrection (1999, oop)
Dungeon - A Rise To Power (2002)
Dungeon - Rising Power (ltd ed., AU, NZ, JP only) (2003)
A Personal Journey (2003) Dungeon - One Step Beyond (2004/2005)
Dungeon - Resurrection (re-recorded) (2005)
Dungeon - The Final Chapter (2006)
Live At The Metro (2007)
Ascendance Pack (box set) (2007)
Hear No Evil (ep) (2008)
Set In Stone (2009)

Dungeon - Under The Rising Sun (DVD w/CD) (2004)
Dungeon - Official Bootleg DVD: Volume 1 (DVD) (2005)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin AU

Added: December 30th 2004
Reviewer: Karyn Hamilton
Artist website: www.lord.net.au
Hits: 571
Language: english


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