Lord of the Lost – Judas (Napalm)

Thursday, 1st July 2021
Rating: 8.5/10

If there’s been one band in recent years that has really proven that they can flex some serious muscle with concept-driven double albums, it’s Lord of the Lost. Between symphonic and string releases as well as 2018’s Thornstar, the band practically lives in the multiple album format, but they are quite well-fitted for it. The band’s unique blend of multiple genres, straddling them all with care, lends them to be able to tell quite a compelling tale. Double-album Judas continues this trend with cinematic and gothic glee.

It doesn’t take much thought to figure out what the album is about from the title, and the Damnation (disc 1) and Salvation (disc 2) gives the band’s take on The Book of Judas and character of Judas Iscariot plenty of scenery to chew on. The band’s format hasn’t really changed much, but nor does it need to. There’s such a vast toolkit for them to work from – gothic, industrial, modern metal, ‘80s new wave, and more – that they can just simply shift gears from track to track and mix the slurry in a slightly different fashion and all is well. Judas is entirely that – all is well. The concept and overall cinematic sense of storytelling holds it altogether (as does Chris Harms’ infectious vocals), as the songs zip from the heavy and metallically-catchy (“Born with a Broken Heart” or “Viva Vendetta”) to the more sultry and gothic (“In the Field of Blood” or “A War Within”)) to the more electronic and industrial pulsating tracks (“Iskarioth” or “The Heart is a Traitor”). The strings are also effectively brought out for a ballad-y track like “Death is Just a Kiss Away,” complete with an ethereal choir at the helm. Closing track on disc two, “Work of Salvation,” strips away most of the excess and leaves the capable Harms entirely to lift the emotive finale, showcasing a powerful end after two full releases of high-grade material.

Lord of the Lost are masters at combining dreary gothic storytelling through a cinematic lens. Judas stands as their finest accomplishment in this regard to date, using all of the band’s soundscapes to tell a tale that no one else could pull off. Sure to scratch that moody, gothic itch as well as an epic, symphonic one.

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