LORDS OF BLACK – Alchemy of Souls Part II
I was quite pleased with the Spanish power metallers’ previous offering, namely the first part of the "Alchemy of Souls" (2020) musical narrative, and so naturally, I was keen on hearing how this brand-new effort of theirs would sound. As it turns out, it is a bit of a mixed bag with respect to quality and "Alchemy of Souls Part II" is simply not as memorable and solid as its predecessor is.
With its sharp, heavy, and slightly stiff sound, this latest batch of songs by these skilled musicians is a thunderous affair from a purely sonic perspective, but roughly half the tunes lack the melodies, hooks, and enticing atmospheres that would have sucked the listener in and made for a compelling listening experience. Ronnie Romero (Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow) is a supremely gifted singer, and his vocals bring charisma and heft to the compositions, but at nearly 70 minutes long and with very few highlights and standout tracks, the whole thing simply comes across as slightly underwhelming and a bit of a disappointment. "Maker of Nothingness" is a dark and majestic piece, "What’s Become of Us" adds a touch of melancholy to the proceedings, the powerful and varied "Bound to You" is one of the group’s finest creations to date, and "Before That Time Can Come" is a muscular song with a great chorus to it, but in general, there are just too many fillers here and the LP is neither as riveting nor remarkable as it could have been. It all ends with a cover rendition of Uriah Heep’s that is well-played but devoid of the warmth and dynamics of the original version.
Lords of Black are competent musicians and Romero’s vocals are exceptionally good, but sadly, "Alchemy of Souls Part II" fails to deliver a proper punch and is an uneven output regarding quality. The aforementioned highlights that I listed (and most notably "Bound to You") certainly deserve praise – I just wish that the rest of the tunes had followed suit and were just as good.