LORD OF THE LOST – Blood & Glitter (Album Review)

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German gothic metallers Lord of the Lost topped charts and wowed audiences across the world in 2021 upon release of the stunning double-album “Judas.” Here at Sonic Perspectives, our review dove deep into the album’s lyrical significance, its instrumental artistry, and its contributions to the band’s already impressive discography, before awarding it a 9.5/10. Despite the album’s global success, Lord of the Lost were not content to rest on their laurels. In May 2022, the band released an EP titled “The Heartbeat of the Devil,” which included different edits of tracks from “Judas” as well as cover songs. Music videos from the “Judas” era continued to be released through September this year, concluding with the ninth and final video for “A World Where We Belong.” At the same time the band had taken to the stage for their extensive Homecoming Tour, which spanned across more than nine countries over two months. 

As though this marathon of activity were not enough – it’s exhausting to even list it all – Lord of the Lost dropped a brand-new music video on December 24th with an unexpected announcement: their new album “Blood & Glitter” would be released in just six days. The “surprise album” is a feat rarely seen in the modern era of music promotion. Most listeners are treated to three or four singles in the six months prior to the album’s release, social media feeds stuffed with pleas for pre-orders, and music videos strategically timed for maximizing viewer engagement. Vocalist and frontman Chris Harms voiced his irritation at this demanding and often hollow endeavor in the limited press offered in advance of “Blood & Glitter.” Harms even sank his claws into album reviews, noting with contempt that there are so often “1,000 pointless reviews in advance” of a release. Perhaps this very article is exempt given that it follows the album’s release, but regardless, this reviewer is always happy to ramble on about one of the most bold, exciting, and aesthetically daring bands in the modern metal and gothic scene. And this reviewer is certainly going to pretend that she isn’t wounded by Harms’ criticism of the industry (she doesn’t quite have the thick skin that the Lord of the Lost crew must possess). 

Blood & Glitter” embodies everything that Lord of the Lost have come to be known for while stepping away from the somber air that shadowed “Judas.” From a unique stylistic approach that brings modern flavor to glam, and a sonic identity that draws from gothic metal through electronic and new-wave, “Blood & Glitter” is a no-punches pulled approach to gothic rock ignited by metal’s biting edge. Not so much as a single ballad slows down the rollicking pace of this party-anthem opus, but underlying darkness introduced by Harms’ screams and rumbling percussion keep it firmly rooted in the gothic atmosphere that has long defined Lord of the Lost’s sound. The thematic content is personal and tainted with passion and rage in equal measure to further offset the pop-tinged up-tempo offerings. Bright synths mingle effortlessly with fervent growls for a delightful atmosphere that dances between arena anthems and dim-lit clubs, notable on tracks such as “Absolute Attitude” and “Destruction Manual.” Some tracks will leave listeners torn over whether they should be dancing or head-banging.

Despite the apparent disdain for exhaustive promotion, there was still some excitement in advance of “Blood & Glitter” being released. This came primarily in the music video for the sole and lead single, title track “Blood & Glitter.” Everything about this single and its accompanying video seems designed to “wow.” While it may first sound like an easy party anthem, the depths of “Blood & Glitter” calls upon a wealth of serious emotion that Lord of the Lost invokes with marksman-like precision. The band spends the better part of three minutes drenched in a combination of sparkling gold and crimson liquid, an aesthetic signature that expounds upon the vibrancy of 70’s glam. Each band member is afforded a healthy dose of personality in their costuming, with Harms sporting a spectacularly dramatic cape and a smattering of sequins that leave little to the imagination, keyboardist Gared Dirge rocking glittering tights in addition to a bright red mohawk, and guitarist Pi Stoffers in a tightly-tailored display of eye-catching fabrics. Their faces upturned in apparent elation beneath pouring blood offsets the gold confetti that also rains from above, an appropriate visual feast to match the song’s content and zeal. This single and its whole-package approach to a glamorous presentation make for an instant Lord of the Lost classic.  

The blunt and deeply personal lyricism throughout “Blood & Glitter” leaves no doubt for listeners seeking some deeper meaning at this album’s heart. Lord of the Lost have truly left their souls on display here, with pointed lyrics that match the musical intensity. “Leave Your Hate in the Comments” is the paragon of this unapologetic philosophy and the heavy-handed metaphor-free lyrics that dominate “Blood & Glitter.” Lord of the Lost are no strangers to hate in the comments, be it on their YouTube videos, posts on Napalm Records’ official pages, or even on their own social media accounts. Recent gems include some of the following (and exclude many others that would not be fit for publication – a full stream of comments can be seen on the song’s just-released music video): 

“Shits (sic) lame, they need to stop with Gary glitter here
Unfollowing. I’ve had enough of this gay shit stuffed down my throat already this year. 
This band is trash. Stop spamming it. 
Looks gay
[T]his kinda music doesn’t belong next to the actual metal bands Napalm Records promotes

With that in mind, there’s little doubt that Lord of the Lost truly mean every syllable shouted out in the verses to “Leave Your Hate in the Comments,” including: 

 “Blame us, degrade us
Tell us that you hate us

We’re stupid, we’re useless

We’re crap and we’re faggots
We’re not enough” 

But in the way Harms sings these verses, there is no dejection to be found. There is no despair, nor is there mourning. Instead, there is a brilliant light. There is the bright defiance of success, the joy that comes in climbing to the very top of the German charts, the splendor that comes in opening for the legendary Iron Maiden. This is accomplishment that no amount of faceless hatred could ever dethrone, and “Leave Your Hate in the Comments” does not hesitate in sharing this triumph over faceless hatred.

The same confrontational attitude embodied in “Leave Your Hate in the Comments” weaves into “No Respect for Disrespect,” a lively number ignited by the enthusiasm from the synths and keys that Dirge commands. And where Dirge brings the touches of pop or new-wave, Stoffers steps in to douse the listener with exquisite riffing, a dichotomy particularly notable in “Absolute Attitude.” Dirge and Stoffers are matches not just in setting the mood, but in their charismatic performances, visible both on-stage and in the “Blood & Glitter” music video. This partnership creates a well-balanced exchange amidst the collision of different genres, particularly the jubilant and danceable melodies that float above the tumultuous bass undertones. It sometimes feels as though this album is Lord of the Lost welcoming their listeners to a party at the end of the world. 

Just when it seems that “Blood & Glitter” can get no more personal, the album concludes with the touching “One Last Song.” Harms supposedly crafted this song after asking himself what song he would want to sing last before he died, and realized he hadn’t yet found it. So, in true gothic fashion, he wrote that very song. It weeps with love and melancholy, overflowing with devotion to not just the craft of music, but to the life that Harms has built and the legacy he hopes to leave behind. The mellow darkness that permeates messages of hope is a true testament to Harms’ skill in flitting fluidly between light and darkness. “One Last Song” is also a strong final note for an album that is more thematically personal to the band than ever before. 

There is no praise too great for Harms as a vocalist, frontman, and songwriter. His presence as a vocal staple in the German rock and metal scene is undeniable and well-earned. A spirited interviewee, skilled performer (look no further than the “Blood & Glitter” music video), and an unapologetic personality are all features Harms possesses alongside his unmatched vocal ability. Smooth crooning switches seamlessly to caustic shouts and screams, and Harms demonstrates a pleasant vocal range as he traverses the peaks and valleys within “Blood & Glitter.” Listening to the rest of the band unite behind him sparks an utterly delightful and positive chemistry. His fiery spirit is enough to make any listener itch for Lord of the Lost to take these songs to the live stage – it’s all but a promise of the performance of all lifetime. 

Although “Blood & Glitter” is dominated by unceasing energy, the album still plays with tempo in satisfying and infectious ways. There is no better example than “Reset the Preset,” which begins with a simmering percussion that rapidly turns into a thunderous stampede of drums. Niklas Kahl keeps the rest of the band on their toes with impeccable rhythm throughout all of “Blood & Glitter,” but “Reset the Preset” and “Dead End” are solid proof that this drummer is more than just a mere metronome. Part of the rich personality that makes the album more than just arena-anthem tracks is the confident integration of a bold rhythm section. Kahl and bassist Class Grenayde make for an unstoppable duo, matching all the energy of Dirge’s keys with pure grit. The prominence of Grenayde and Kahl in the mix is evidence of thoughtful production and songwriting that works to enunciate each essential instrumental element. The production for “Blood & Glitter” is tremendous in general, as the album feels polished without losing essential atmospheric subtleties.

For all of its straightforward and ardent fire, there are also more sensitive and visceral passages contained in these momentous tracks. “Leaving the Planet Earth” hits with a cinematic dreaminess that makes stylistic allusions between Harms and David Bowie all the more tangible. “One Last Song” is rich with feeling, particularly in vocal delivery, while that same decadence is added to “Save Our Souls” with a layer of dramatic violin. The ability for Lord of the Lost to pack “Blood & Glitter” with nuance without abandoning its burning momentum is but one example of exceptional songwriting skill.

Blood & Glitter” further enhances the band’s inherent strengths by bringing in guest musicians on both vocals and instruments. This includes Marcus Bischoff (Heaven Shall Burn) on “The Future of a Past Life,” Andy La Plegua (Combichrist) on “Reset the Preset,” and violinist Ally Storch (Subway to Sally) on “Save Our Souls.” Each guest was placed in a song that accented their strengths alongside that of the already talented band members for an explosion of talent. “The Future of a Past Life” demonstrates a particularly strong match between vocal styles. 

There is simply no other band in the current metal scene doing what Lord of the Lost is doing. They do not rest, they do not compromise, and they do not tailor their personalities or content to bow to the seemingly endless pressures from hatred that drips from their public reception. Not only that, but they make damn good music that’s worth putting on repeat, and they do it in glittering tights and high-heeled shoes. Their bright smiles on stage and vocal allyship to communities often sidelined in metal makes supporting Lord of the Lost so much more than just a mere musical endeavor.

Release Date: December 30th, 2022
Record Label: Napalm Records
Genre: New-Wave Gothic Metal

Musicians:

  • Chris Harms / Vocals, Guitar
  • Pi Stoffers / Guitar
  • Class Grenayde / Bass
  • Niklas Kahl / Drums
  • Gared Dirge / Keyboard, Piano, Synth

“Blood & Glitter” Track-list:

  1. Blood & Glitter
  2. Leave Your Hate In The Comments
  3. Absolute Attitude
  4. The Future Of A Past Life
  5. No Respect For Disrespect
  6. Reset The Preset
  7. Destruction Manual
  8. Dead End
  9. Leaving The Planet Earth
  10. Forever Lost
  11. Save Our Souls 
  12. One Last Song
  13. The Look (Roxette Cover)

Order “Blood & Glitter” HERE

8.8 Excellent

Energetic, dark, and full of fiery attitude, surprise album “Blood & Glitter” is a quintessential addition to the Lord of the Lost discography. These gothic metallers have truly brought their A-game in an album packed with style and skill that remain unmatched in the modern metal scene

  • Songwriting 9
  • Musicianship 9.5
  • Originality 8
  • Production 8.5
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