Lords of the Trident – Shadows from the Past (Self-Released)Monday, 27th August 2018
Crowdfunding can be a gamechanger if executed properly. Take Wisconsin heavy metal act Lords of the Trident – together for a decade, after two solid full-lengths, they’ve been able to issue three EP’s and an additional full-length during 2013-2015 thanks to Kickstarter campaigns. Be it holiday themed or special covers outings, they’ve truly endeared themselves to their fanbase, and social/personal engagement has been the key to their success. Now using Kickstarter and Patreon to execute their goals, this latest album Shadows from the Past proves that independent, DIY artists these days have no trouble going toe to toe with larger acts in the same genres – and often can put together a winning package that deserves everyone’s attention.
It’s evident on initial passes this quintet possesses requisite musicianship and proper understanding of the tools necessary to deliver exemplary traditional metal with US / European power propensities. Beyond the over the top stage monikers like bassist Pontifex Mortis, lead guitarist Baron Taurean Helleshaar and vocalist Fang VonWrathenstein, you have to go in knowing there is equally fantasy/majestic lyrical content to match their style on songs such as “Figaro” and Iced Earth-edged opener “Death Dealer”. Baron’s leads feature plenty of shred, tapping, and arpeggio excitement while fitting the atmosphere of each song at hand – you can hear bits of Accept, Metallica, Megadeth, and Yngwie Malmsteen throughout these eleven tracks. The band prove equally up to the task on a faster, double kick anthem such as “Burn It Down (With Fire)” that features Brittney Slayes of Unleash the Archers just as much as settling into a more 90’s black album Metallica effort such as “Tormentor”. Overall the listeners will be hard pressed to not wave fists, headbang, or even jig to certain hooks (the latter evident on the theatrical/folk influenced “Brothers of Cain”).
The ace of the appeal lies in the masterful vocal performance of Fang. Utilizing enthusiasm, multi-octave range and sustain, plus that added personal charm necessary to pull off themes of ancient/battle/fantasy times as if you are truly there, he understands the need to fluctuate song to song to help throw this material into the memory banks longer than a single pass. “Chasing Shadows” a perfect example of his commercial tendencies, understanding where to push forward and when to lay back, plus using proper harmonization opportunities to the max. The artwork, production, tones, and performances to these ears rival the main leaders of their preferred influences – generating excitement even if the topics for some may rear into that ‘cheesy’ tag (think Twilight Force, Grail Knights, Rhapsody (Of Fire) here).
Melody and harmony drive Lords of the Trident sonically – and this is prime US traditional metal for those who love the genre and want something new to treasure. Time to seek out some back discography and ride that horse into battle.