Lanfear – This Harmonic Consciousness (Pure Legend Records)

Monday, 25th March 2013
Rating: 6/10

Power metal has such a strong pecking order that it makes it a bit hard to get to lower-rung bands like Lanfear. Basically, one can get everything he or she needs from the likes of Blind Guardian, Gamma Ray, Firewind, and Helloween, so there’s rarely a need to take a deeper dive. The only way someone like a Lanfear is able to survive is by focusing on mainland Europe, which to their credit, is exactly what they’ve done since 1993. On This Harmonic Consciousness, the Germans play play-it-safe power metal like it was going out of style…although technically, it already is.

Lanfear’s style of power metal drifts more toward the cerebral end of the spectrum, meaning there’s a distinct lack of beer-swiggling sing-a-longs that make festival crowds giddy. Instead, the band’s fluid, yet hardly memorable offerings like “Colours of Chaos,” “By-Product Nation,” and “I, Robo Sapiens” take on a similar formula were syncopated riffs (for the verse) end up spilling into a soft chorus where singer Nuno Miguel de Barros Fernandes can banter on about the trials and tribulations of the world.

Thinking in terms of Lanfear’s components alone, they simply do not have the firepower to hang with the heavy hitters of power metal. Barros Fernandes lacks the sort of banshee yelp that make heads turn, while songs like the clunky and plodding “Spectrophobia” reek of a band more concerned with creating snooty, conceptual-based power metal than actual fun and gravitational songs. For once, it might be smart for a band to take a dive and act less intelligent than they really are.

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