The Delores Lesion
9/10/2004 - Review by: Eric Compton
Lilitu - The Delores Lesion 2004 The End Records Reviewed by: EC
Lilitu have been pounding the underground for years, dating back to 1995 when the band was created by guitarist/vocalist Derek Bonner. At that particular time, melodic death metal bands were very uncommon in America. Keep in mind that Europe was heating up with big venue acts playing this style, but we were years away from American made chart topping groups like Shadows Fall and Killswitch Engage. In that respect, Lilitu have indeed seperated themselves from the rest of the pack, leading instead of following as true underground staples should. With the group's first two records, the band experimented somewhat with female vocals, timing changes, and different arrangements. The group got a big momentum push with their 2001 album "Memorial", which received positive reviews worldwide.
Now in 2004, The End Records has stepped up to give the guys their much needed break. "The Delores Lesion" offers the band something completely new, a bigger budget for artwork, photography, and production. Big name graphic design artist Travis Smith (Control Denied, Nevermore) created the entire layout of the record, giving the album a more urban, gritty feel. With the band being from Atlanta, I knew Rich Ward (Stuck Mojo, Fozzy) would have to be involved in some way. The legendary guitarist has helped mix the record, and has also put a fantastic, soaring solo on "Follow Through", a highlight of the album and one that will hopefully garner Lilitu some extra attention from the metal faithful.
Lilitu play tight-knit, melodic death metal in much the same way others have. Big leads, twin guitars, heavy chugging, and catchy hooks. With furious firestorms like "Only The End Of The World Again", one can recall classic albums like In Flames "Whoracle", with vocalist/guitarist Derek Bonner sounding much like Anders Friden at the helm. But with the aggressive sound, the band also mix in a good dose of keyboards that never seem to overshadow the metal, with the keys being so far in the back you can barely even notice them. Unlike Skyfire's latest release, Lilitu don't really rely on the keyboards for melody, instead they allow Bonner and Jason Piona to carry on the spirit of the album with their raging rhythm and leads, which are far more superior in sound than the keys. "Even The Vultures Have Moven On" starts out like Dimmu Borgir, with quick blast beats and big keyboards, but quickly the mood changes into a more metallic vision, with blazing fury from the strings. I can hear a hint of Arch Enemy here with the grooves, and with this track we get Bonner's clean singing voice thrown in, which makes for a good combo that reminds me of Gardenian.
The title track starts out with some acoustic guitar and spoken poetry, causing a slight bit of alarm for my anti-ambient ears, but all of that gets quickly erased about a minute and a half in, but still retains a bit of a progressive edge. Not one of my favorite tracks, but does a good job slowing the record down some. "Ether" is an intrumental intro piece for "Follow Through", which is pure melody through and through, with a bit of rock and roll thrown in to spice it up. Big riffs and chunky grooves dominate throughout, with Bonner maintaining a clean delivery through a majority of the track. As I mentioned before, Rich Ward steps in on this track and lays down a brilliant lead, teasing me with a journey back to his Stuck Mojo roots. "Desolation Breeds" reminds me of Paradise Lost, with a heavier, mid-tempo arrangement and those "Draconian Times" keyboards that add a certain sense of Gothic atmosphere. "Dark Haired Girl" is pure filler for me, with most of the song just spoken poetry put to keys and "unplugged" guitars. With an instrumental cut, this filler tune, and the rather dull title track, we aren't left with many solid cuts. However the album ends on a furious note with "Fragments Of My Reflection", a solid speedy track that is much like the album's opener.
So there you have it, five great songs, two shabby ones, and a short instrumental. I wish the album was a bit longer, but nevertheless its a great effort and one that will hopefully catch the ears of newer "extreme" fans popping up daily. I think the really unique thing about the band is its ability to add in other elements to keep it interesting. Fans of Amorphis, Sentenced, Lacuna Coil, and Opeth will find plenty to like here, and for the folks who like their metal a little bit more ambient, they will find plenty to like here as well, if they are willing to dig deep enough. The main ingredient of the group's sound of course is the Gothenburg style, but they do manage to add in a little bit more. So I ask my initial question again...have they done enough here to break new ground for the genre? In my opinion, no. If you are looking for something that is much in the same vein as In Flames, Skyfire, and Killswitch Engage then you have come to the right place. If you want more than that, then create it yourself because the scene has run out of originality.
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