Review: LORD Live at the Enigma, Adelaide

If there is a better lead guitarist and vocalist in Australia that can top ‘Lord’ Tim Grose then now it’s time to nominate because I don’t know who you are. While you are at it, if there is a more versatile bass player than Andy Dowling then I’ll have a look at these nominations at the same time. These two together explains why this band has such pre-eminence amongst the Australian metal scene. That history and capability was on show at the Enigma in Adelaide, South Australia.

First to set the scene. The Enigma is like the bar from Terminator where Arnie first meets Kyle Reece, it’s all galvanised metal and cold neon. But we can get to within 6 inches of our heroes, which is face melting range for a band of this power. There is excitement in the air, and from the opening riff we know that it’s going to be a show.

The audience know that LORD has the lineage within Australia and if this was the UK we would be talking about their role in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal as they were derived from the band Dungeon. Dungeon, for all intents and purposes, is unique in Australia as a ‘traditional’ metal band with a prodigious output. In 2006, Lord Tim formed LORD and a number of albums and EPs followed in the tradition of Maiden, Saxon, and Queensryche. Each one was an exercise in melodic power metal, never taking itself too seriously, but of such quality they stand out from the pack.

The only problem with tonight’s gig was it was far too short, with the band not hitting the stage until 11:30. Luckily, the bar was able to provide enough sustenance to stave off dehydration. With a show filled with highlights, I’ll pick out three that blew me away.

‘Set in Stone’ is melodic metal at its very best. It has an opening riff and set of solos that are good as anything I’ve seen recently and played with such nonchalance it’s amazing to see played live. Unbelievably tight musically, and effortless, but every note played with such incredible attack. Lord Tim just stands and delivers and it was not long until I was pushed to the second row by the other bands on the bill that were coming down for a look to see how it’s done.

Second highlight for me is the band firing into ‘Playing To Win’ by the Little River Band who are Australia’s middle of the road, easy listening superstars. It’s a bit like Malmsteen kicking into a bit of Abba. Grinning from ear to ear, I watched the band play this song with such gusto that it was infectious. Tight solos and wandering bass lines made it sound acceptable metal staple. In fact, some of the audience that might not have caught this on LORD’s most recent EP ‘What Tomorrow Brings’, have probably heard it in the family car being played at slightly less tempo and aggression. Andy, beer in hand, shouts at the end of the song, “If you don’t know that one you can fuck off’”. That’s what I love about metal, the social inclusion.

The night finished with the ‘Tarranno Del Mar’ which I’m calling as the Australian Rime. At eight minutes, it’s up there as a metal classic and played with enthusiasm and drive. The band are clearly enjoying every minute, and the audience are entranced by this performance. I’m now fourth row back and not sure exactly how that happened, as I haven’t taken my eyes off the stage. LORD have ripped through this and it’s beautifully simple and harks back to those early metal days of face-peeling vocals, thumping bass, and lyrics about god knows what. What I do know though is that it works, but all too soon its ‘thank you, Adelaide’ and they are gone. They could have played all weekend and I still would have been disappointed that they were off stage, but performance wise, can’t fault it.

Reviewing a LORD gig in Australia is a bit like doing Maiden in the UK. There is nothing I can say about this band that hasn’t already been said on these shores. For those of you in the UK, I’m going to point you to the video above, and watch the band that’s played alongside Saxon, Queensryche and Iced Earth and given them all a run for their money.

For the US, you guys have all the luck. In an interview with Andy Dowling, which you can also find on DGM, he tells me that they are playing ProgPower in 2016, so there’s no reason for not being in Atlanta for that one. I, for one, am aiming to watch LORD on American soil for the first time.

So wherever you are, give LORD a go. If you get the chance to see them, then do it. You won’t regret it!

Review Craig Grant

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