LANFEAR – X To The Power Of Ten

  • 9.5/10
    LANFEAR - X To The Power Of Ten - 9.5/10


Release Date: August 22, 2008

User Review
9.5/10 (1 vote)

Germany’s Progressive Power Metal hopefuls return in their 15th year of existence triumphantly – fortunately, as the departure of a singer, their long time frontman Tobias Althammer, which always marks an important step in the career of a band, gave cause for concern. In this case, the band turned a problem into an opportunity and emerged stronger and even more dedicated from the line-up change. And in the process created their best album to date.

This may surprise some as their 1999 release Zero Poems is held in high regard among many German and international Prog fans. The later albums The Art Effect (2003) and Another Golden Rage (2005) showed a turn towards straighter Power Metal tunes, which meant a slight change in audience, too. Still being great albums, those failed to better the unexpected surprise of their second release Zero Poems that became an underground cult classic since. So what did they change to manage to create a better album now? First of all, the inclusion of the new voice is partly responsible for that. Nuno Miguel Fernandes, known by some for his work with Anguish, is a more versatile singer than Tobias was, with a very warm and comforting voice. Unless he shouts, screams and roars. What he does sometimes, for example in “A Twin Phenomenon”. But then again he can change to perform a fine Prog melody, or let his powerful, natural Metal voice loose with feeling but an underlying rawness, a few feet of barbed wire fence in a sunny valley.

Secondly, it is incredible how much effort and time Lanfear dedicated to their arrangements. There is the obvious, straight forward layer of music which let’s one bang his head and tap his feet. But when one listens closely, there is so much going on in every song that one needs to listen to each track several times with earphones to catch it all. This richness in detail without disturbing the aggressive potential of the uptempo songs like “My Will Be Done” and “Juggling At The Edge” adds a new dimension to Lanfear’s music.

And finally, the musicians show great progress. Markus Ullrich on guitar plays better than ever, varies his melodies and riffing subtly but frequently, while the keyboards are omnipresent but never dominate. Keyboarder Richie Seibel came up with some fine piano parts, too. The rhythm section qualifies for much more than just background and sees eye to eye with the aforementioned musicians, and only the combination of all five musician’s skills, without one pushing to the front, make every song a great piece of art.

Still, the album needs a few more spins before it really hits home. Where its predecessor was an obvious Power Metal highlight from the start, X To The Power Of Ten needs to sneak in and linger around a while before one notices all its beauty. There are a few songs that show an increased share of progressiveness and which do not appear to be written safely around a catchy chorus like “The Question Keeper,” “A Twin Phenomenon” and “Just Another Broken Shell”, and also the beginning of the opening track “Enter Dystopia”, and which create a fine contrast to straight melodic tunes like “Synaptogenesis” and “The Art Of Being Alone”. That, and the order of songs, make the album appear more progressive than it actually is, the latter a fact that should pay off on stage.

X To The Power Of Ten needs to be given some time. It is not an easy listening, straight forward Metal album, but a gem to be discovered. The feeling for a great melody was always there, and it has not diminished, but it is less obvious now. So upon first listen it is a good album. After a while, it turns into a really good album, and another dozen spins later it is a great album. What will that lead to? Is it the best Metal album of 2008? It may become just that over time, but that is something every one Metal fan has to find out for himself.


  • Frank Jaeger

    Frank was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Bavaria, Germany. He has worked in the games industry for more than 20 years, now on the manufacturing side, before on the publishing end. Before this, he edited and handled the layout for a city mag in northern Germany ... maybe that is why he love being part of anything published. Frank got hooked on Metal at the age of 14 when a friend introduced him to AC/DC. They were listening to The Beatles, Madness, and The Police, and he decided they should move on. Well, they did, Back in Black became Frank's first Metal album, and since Germany is reasonably close to England, they had some small New Waves Of British Heavy Metal washing up on their shores: Tygers Of Pan Tang, Samson, Gillan, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Sweet Savage, Diamond Head, etc. If he had to pick his favorite styles, Prog and Power Metal would be at the top of the list.

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