Lord – Yes They Can…And So Will YouWednesday, 17th July 2013
The first name in Australian power metal, Lord’s career is unique in that they survived a name change while retaining the bulk of their lineup. Originally formed as Dungeon in 1989, the band adopted the Lord moniker in 2003 to avoid word association with all things castle-related. It’s a move that some veteran bands wished they had the guts to make, specifically the likes of Anathema, Rotting Christ, and even Death, each of whom expressed regret over their chosen name. The fact Lord were able to make the change without skipping a beat is a testament to how good they actually are. Plus, it sounds cooler than Dungeon.
Digital Lies is the name of the band’s new album, the follow-up to 2009’s totally-rad Set in Stone. This is first-rate power metal at its finest; rousing, technical, melodic, and catchy, with the versatility and energy to run with the big dogs of the style, Angra, Blind Guardian, and Helloween. Immediate and flavorful cuts like “Digital Lies” and the blistering “Point of View” speak to the band’s ability to craft edgy and powerful numbers, while the free-for-all instrumental “Because We Can” is the shred-happening of 2013.
Wanting to delve further into the band’s fascinating history, we grabbed mainman Lord Tim for a round of questions. Here’s how the Aussie responded…
Dead Rhetoric: Take me back to the days when you were Dungeon. In terms of getting your start in the Australian metal scene and doing nine albums, what did you learn?
Lord Tim: Mostly that there’s no money in the Australian metal scene! HAHA! It’s a sad fact that a scene like this is literally brimming with incredible talent but because it’s so small, and Australia is so isolated, and there’s really no government assistance for this sort of thing like you’d get with other areas of the arts or in other countries around the world, very few bands break out and really do anything more than just playing the local circuit, and that’s hard enough as it is.
As a lot of bands discover, the moment you finally do leave your own shores, if you’re part of a very niche style like most underground metal bands are, you’re suddenly a very small fish in a very large pond and the expenses really keep coming. But on the positive side, since we are a bit isolated and it was hard for bands to survive in this climate, the bands that actually stuck around and did things were usually the ones who deserved to still be there rather than people jumping on fads. We always tried to do our own thing and not care about styles or trying to out-do the band up the road or whatever, and that eventually made people take notice of what we did, and I think we opened a few doors for similar bands to follow in our footsteps.
Dead Rhetoric: Everyone has their own idea of what another country’s metal scene is like. Therefore, what’s Australia like in terms of metal?
Lord Tim: Well, like I said, it’s small but full of amazing talent. The hard thing about Australia is that even inside our own country, the distance between each major city is huge, so touring is long and expensive (we actually fly most places, in fact, because it’s comparable to the price of a tour van and we get there quicker) and there’s really only limited days you can play – typically weekend shows are the only ones that draw big crowds for local acts. Combining that with a lot of international tours that are coming through, you can stand to lose a lot of money if you don’t plan things right and your event falls on the same date as, say, Iron Maiden playing down the road. A larger scene could maybe sustain that but here, it’s financial suicide. But despite that, every area has some incredible bands of all different kinds of styles, and it’s great to see a few of them break out and really do good things on the international scene.
Dead Rhetoric: It’s certainly a unique situation – spending most of your career named as one band, then changing your name. Were you nervous when you decided to make the switch?
Lord Tim: I don’t know if nervous was the right word. Apprehensive, maybe? Something HAD to be done, though – the name Dungeon was causing us a lot of issues (if anyone is curious as to why the name was changed, I’ve written a fairly extensive blog about it here. We knew there would be people who wouldn’t understand why it was done and just assume that we were now a different band and that we were taking a big step back in the international market where Dungeon already had a bit of a foot-hold (both in a good and a bad way – people did associate Dungeon with being yet another LMP fantasy power metal band when it was never anything of the sort, and the reviews were suitably full of confused people trying to work out why we didn’t fit their expectations), so yes – we knew it would be a risk and a bit of hard work, and it was weirdly emotional playing the “farewell” shows, despite knowing the band would basically be continuing but with a different name.
Dead Rhetoric: As time wears on, do you find yourselves dropping more Dungeon songs from the set? Are there any left at all?
Lord Tim: Quite the opposite, actually! We ARE Dungeon for all intents and purposes, so we think of everything we’ve done since the first demos in the late 80s as part of our own back catalogue. When we do an album launch tour like we’re doing now, we do favour songs from the new album to get them out there and establish them with the crowds, but even in this sort of set, we’re always bringing back older songs that we haven’t played in a while. In our typical touring set when we’re just out on the road, it’s not uncommon to hear half of the set made up of Dungeon songs. We’re all really proud of that stuff and we love playing them.
Dead Rhetoric: Set in Stone was so well-received. Why did it take so long to follow it up?
Lord Tim: We were quite busy since then. We made five video clips for the album, we were on tour non-stop, and released an EP called Return Of The Tyrant in 2010. We got off tour in 2011 and basically had to take a break because we were exhausted. The intent was to release the new album in the middle of 2012, and we were already on the road promoting it by that time, but it took a little longer to get finished than we would have liked, and then it was getting towards October/November. It made sense to hold off and release it fresh in 2013 rather than trying to squeeze it in to the last months of 2012. So from our perspective, it was hardly any time at all since we were in the studio doing something. I think the longest we had off from working together was about six months all up, between clips, songwriting and EPs and things.
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