We’ve often downplayed the role of innovation in releasing new music. This is perhaps a pendulum reaction to the overbearing presence of the desire for the new and the novel within the metal community. That desire is understandable; in a genre founded on the notion of being louder and faster than anything else, tolerance is quickly built and the edge which sets the genre apart tends to fade. However, making ourselves slaves to these urges, the need for constant experimentation, has detrimental side affects. Mostly, it prevents us from appreciating releases which might be excellent even if they don’t exactly reinvent the wheel.

I’m here today, regardless of what the intro paragraph above might say, to premiere a track from an album which is innovation writ large. Lör‘s upcoming “In Forgotten Sleep (which will see release on August 11th) not only innovates but also does it in a genre which is often known for its progressive attitudes or its contemporary relevance. I’m talking, of course, about power metal, a genre that’s perhaps the most calcified of all metal sub-genres. The last album I can recall that did anything fresh with it was Elvenking‘s The Pagan Manifesto or perhaps Heid‘s Alba. However, Lör do not seem content with letting that stay that way, as the title track streaming below will more than attest to that. Head on over there now for your listen and let’s meet after for a brief discussion on how Lör is dragging the genre, kicking and screaming, into the future.

Everything starts off regularly enough. The ambient intro to the track and the following introductory riffs are normal fare for power metal. However, harsh vocals are quickly introduced, serving as a bit more than just a backing role. In other places in the album, you can find blastbeats as well as death metal influences on the riff composition, more thrash-y passages which owe their debt to early Blind Guardian as well as more heartfelt passages torn from the progressive metal playbook.

Among and besides these ideas live the sounds of power metal fans of the genre have grown to love. If you’re such a fan and are about to give up because of the eclectic influences listed above, don’t. There are plenty of breakneck riffing, epic singing (like on the end of this track) and expert use of gang vocals to lend In Forgotten Sleep its unique sheen. Overall, it’s an album I really didn’t see coming. If you’d have asked me at the beginning of the year which sub-genre would see an interesting and forward thinking release, power metal would have been way, way down that list. Perhaps even at its bottom. However, regardless of my preconceptions, Lör are set to release just that, a moving and powerful power metal album which still manages to mix things up. Head on over to their Bandcamp below to pre-order it.

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