Dark Mother Rises
Review by TheOneNeverSeen on March 24, 2023.
After the rather mediocre and sometimes even weak Upon The Forgotten (I mean, look at its cover), Lankester Merrin have most certainly improved on their second full-length, offering much stronger songs and a way more pleasing sound. While not being a classic of heavy/power/pirate/whatever way this style is called metal, it is a solid release with an uplifting mood and catchy riffs.
The first major improvement is the guitar sound, which is much cleaner and thicker than on the band's debut. The drummer's performance has also improved, the cymbals no longer sound too piercing and the bass drum actually blends with the overall sound pretty well, especially on 'The Heathen' and 'Sweet Lizzie'. The bass, while not being extraordinary, fits the music, too, especially on 'Stranger'. Cat's (:D) vocals are also better, she moved away from her "nasal" signing style of Upon The Forgotten to a much more enjoyable one. The overall music became more "moving" with the single 'We Ride The Storm' and songs like 'Medusa' and 'The Heathen' offering catchy, headbangable melodies. Obviously, there are some weaker tracks, too, like 'Perfect Illusion', the pop melody and lyrics of which remind me a lot of Beast In Black (at first I even thought it's actually a cover of a pop artist's song) and 'My Journey' which doesn't possess anything particularly memorable, but they aren't bad and thus don't alter my impression of the album greatly. The riffs and solos are consistent and never become boring or unenjoyable. The song that stands out the most from the rest is undoubtedly 'Evil Lives Here', not only due to the dark "sample" at the beginning and the corresponding lyrical theme, but also due to an angrier mood conveyed through Cat's vocals and a more intense guitar melody.
The lyrical themes are the traditional might and perseverance of power metal with some traces of symphonic metal-like fantasy atmosphere we all know (the only exception being the aforementioned 'Evil Lives Here'). Although there aren't any particular standouts in terms of the lyrics, I would say overall the latter are mostly enjoyable and fit the music's inspiring mood, at the same time not becoming overly repetitive or relying on the genre's cliches.
So, Dark Mother Rises is a fine heavy metal album. Not a masterpiece, but a solid and melodic work that, I believe, is a sign of the band's bright future.
Rating: 7 out of 10311