CD Reviews 28 May 2015

Lords of the Trident Frostburn CD CoverLORDS OF THE TRIDENT – Frostburn

(2015 Killer Metal)

Buy Lords of the Trident albums here

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A Lords of the Trident performance is not your average local music show, it’s entertaining on another level. At first blush the band appears to be a parody of metal, dressed in costumes right out of some medieval (or futuristic, which is it?) science fiction series, brandishing flaming guitar and microphone props, encouraging singalongs and knighting audience members onstage. One could draw the conclusion that LotT don’t take themselves seriously. That would be a mistake. This is a collection of some of the most accomplished musicians in the city with a wicked rhythm section, a twin-guitar assault by two of the best shredders around and a vocalist who is on parallel with Rob Halford of Judas Priest, to which LotT are often compared. You don’t even need to like metal to love Lords of the Trident and that may be their greatest feat.

Lords of the Trident have been on a continuous roll since forming in 2005. Frostburn is their fifth recording (including their “holiday” EP, A Very Lords of the Trident Christmas) and their first since signing with German label Killer Metal Records . The band has progressed from a dorm room recording project to a fully functional touring outfit and one of the most popular bands in the city.

There has been a revolving door of sorts when it comes to band members. Vocalist Ty Christian (Fang Von Wrathenstein) and guitarist Akira Shimada (Asian Metal) are the mainstays with guitarist Elliot Ignasiak (Killius Maximus) joining soon after. Bassist Brent Clark (Pontifex Mortis) and drummer Joe Scarpelli III (Dr. Dante Vitus) are the most recent additions. Ignasiak will soon depart for an extended visit to the Himalayas and new member Brian Koenig (Baron Taurean Helleshaar) who most recently served as lead guitarist for Luna Mortis, has been initiated into the fold. For the full background story (which is hilarious) check the band’s bio.

Christian recruited ace Madison producer Doug Olson who also worked on the band’s 2013 release Plan of Attack. The sound is crisp and taut, a veritable orgy of guitars buoyed by relentless melodic vocal ear candy. Another band that comes to mind is Queensryche (at their best) and Frostburn was mastered by Dan Harjung who has worked with that band as well as other notables.

“Winds of the Storm” stands out but really there is not a weak song in the bunch. Dragons, impending darkness, epic battlefields, super-heroic feats of valor and tales of destiny abound. For supreme guitar soloing check “Manly Witness.” Astounding. The band break from the solos into a brief drum fill, build to a rousing climax and an ear-piercing scream from Christian. The twin guitar prowess is on full display in “Haze of the Battlefield,” the phrasing perfectly in synch, each squeezed note perfectly placed. The band excels at reproducing these techniques live. “Kill to Die” is a vocal workout, Christian up in his falsetto range for a large part of the track. Throughout the album, Christian’s self-harmonizing is impressive and lifts the album out of mere guitar histrionics. They’ve already created the theme to the movie series Fast and Furious XIV with “Light This City.” Maybe they can follow this with the theme to Mad Max XXV on their next album.

Don’t let the brief interludes of acoustic guitar or the brief “The Cloud Kingdom” (with actual keyboards!) lead you astray, you will be assaulted with glorious metal shimmer and the Lords of the Trident will see to it that you are fully redeemed, saved from the world of ordinary slavery to mundaneness. This is escape music from a world of dread into an imaginary world that is even more dreadful, leaving their subjects grateful for the life they do have, and able to carry on for another day – until the next Lords of the Trident show where they will make each and every audience member and fan matter.

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About the author

Rick Tvedt

Rick is publisher of Local Sounds Magazine, formerly Rick's Cafe, Wisconsin's Regional Music Newspaper. He is also the Executive Director for MAMA, Inc., a non-profit organization that produces the Madison Area Music Awards and raises funds to promote youth music programs.

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