Album Review: Lord of the Lost – Weapons Of Mass Seduction

Lord of the Lost are known for their covers, so I jumped at the chance to check out this large collection. There are various versions, some with many more tracks than the general release that I got my hands on. Some of them have featured as bonus tracks on previous releases, some are new, but it makes the larger versions of Weapons pretty meaty indeed. These extra tracks include “The Look”, which we’ve included as a video at the bottom mainly as we already used the only other available video from Weapons as a “Classic Cover” track a few weeks ago!

First up, “Shock to the System” (Billy Idol cover), and unfortunately it was. The first track on this album was a bit of a disappointment. The music and the lyrics seeming a little to be battling with each other and containing none of the depth or emotion that I’ve come to love about this band’s work. However, we’re straight back on track with “Unstoppable”. Music is therapy, many people will tell you. I can imagine this song as a pep talk that one might listen to before dealing with an emotional hurdle. The chorus “I am unstoppable” begins somewhat aggressively. That is true of a lot of LOTL songs – that the climax can be screamed or growled – which, if you’re not expecting will make you jump. But it brings all that buried anger to the surface so when the restful melody comes flowing shortly after it carries all that aggression away with it. You’re left feeling relaxed, unwound and at one to just enjoy the music.

I’ve always promised myself I’d never be one of those people who scoffs at a cover track claiming it’ll never eclipse the original. They can and they do. I can’t say that without name dropping Tommy Johansson singing “She’s Gone”, for example. Covers can be amazing for many reasons. It might be a song that you heard decades ago that you’d forgotten and get that wee bit of nostalgia hearing it again. I wish I could say that about “Small Town Boy” (Bronski Beat) but unfortunately I was too young in the 80s to enjoy them properly. I never actually heard the song until it was used for the Russell T Davies drama It’s a Sin but was still very impressed with it. While metal music is now my passion I will always have a soft spot for 80s rock and synth such as “Hymn” (Ultravox), and the pop music I listened to at school in the 90s. In this case “Give in to Me” by Michael Jackson.

“Give in to Me” was always one of Michael’s darker tracks and the extra layer with the metal undertone works really well. It’s why I’m so grateful that LOTL also covered “Everybody” by The Backstreet Boys (not on this album), I can still enjoy it and feel like a respectable metal head. LOTL have taken something I enjoyed as a teenager when I was very different to how I am now and given it that edge. The multidimensional aspect that I love about metal music where you’re not just listening to a voice and backing music. You’ve got the vocals, the power beats from the drum, the soothing melodies from the keyboard and the punch from the guitars. It really gives your senses a work out, firing up all different areas of the brain at once, dare I say very emotional?

It may also be that you haven’t heard the original version of the song and enjoy the cover so much that you go and look up the original such as with “Turbo Lover” (Judas Priest) or “River” (Bishop Briggs). Broadening my musical horizons and as ever – all good songs for their own individual reasons.

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“Somewhere Only We Know” – I am smiling a little at the irony as Keane’s schtick was that they were a rock band without guitars. I do believe I’m hearing a few echos of LOTL’s earlier hit “Loreley”? But the dominant sound is definitely still the piano, just as with the original. This seems like an appropriate time to mention the band’s piano man Gared Dirge. While you cannot see him play, I’ve been an avid watcher of the band’s YouTube concerts and videos of stage performances. He is someone you can get lost watching play. Not just for the fact that when you think “grand piano” you usually imagine a prim and pristine guy in a tuxedo and bow tie…not a German goth with a Mohawk and nail varnish. I apologise for my wierd sense of humour, but after you’ve watched it for a few minutes you realise how spellbinding it is. If you catch a glimpse of his face you can see the pure emotion of someone who is putting their whole heart and soul into the music and been transported to their musical happy place. A very special thing to share as part of a captivated audience.

It does have to be said how impressed I am with the range covered on this album. It’s not just metal covers of metal songs, it’s metal covers of rock, pop and even dance. Its definitely not something where each track just blends in to the next. I do admit that the version of “I Just Died In Your Arms” I know was a dance cover of the actial original and at first glance it’s surprising how easily it’s been done, with the added bonus that you can actually follow the lyrics on the LOTL version. If you didn’t know the earlier track you’d be forgiven for thinking it was always a metal song. If you do know the original you’re probably marvelling at how smoothly it’s transitioned from genre to genre but when you think about it, they both share keyboards.

The last two tracks “High” (Zella Day) and “House on the Hill” (The Pretty Reckless) are probably my favourites, both for the minor keys and the mix of tunes that keeps you guessing. The almost a capella verses focus on the lyrics closely before you’re swept off by the sudden burst of sound as the chorus kicks in. I do find that’s a theme with LOTL. You know their albums will feature a bit of something for everyone. Whether you like the softer anthems, a heavier/thrashier sound with lots of screaming that you can really headbang to or a tuneful ballad like these. There’s a tear jerky element to “House on the Hill”. Almost like you can imagine far into the future a very old Chris Harms sitting by a bare fireplace in an old, empty house reading words of wisdom to the listener. It did lead me to The Pretty Reckless version which I also enjoyed but can see the clear differences between the two. The Pretty Reckless jam to a background of strings while the boys have gone for a piano to accompany the guitars.

All in all I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this album, putting your own spin on existing music while still paying tribute to the original artist is no easy task and yet they’ve made it look so effortless.

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Weapons Of Mass Seduction is out on December 29th

Check out all the bands we review in 2023 on our Spotify and YouTube playlists!

Header image by Sean Larkin

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