LORDS OF BLACK – Alchemy Of Souls

LORDS OF BLACK - Alchemy Of Souls
  • 9.6/10
    LORDS OF BLACK - Alchemy Of Souls - 9.6/10


Frontiers Records
Release date: November 6, 2020

User Review
9/10 (1 vote)

Fourth Time is a Charm

Spanish Power/Prog Metal act Lords of Black are back with their fourth full-length release, Alchemy of Souls. Vocalist Ronnie Romero (Rainbow) and guitarist Tony Hernando’s brainchild delivers the goods in a bigger payback than ever before.

MER’s George Dionne has interviewed Tony Hernando about this release. Click here to listen to the interview.

The overall sound of Alchemy of Souls is mainly modern Power Metal with a blend of  Classic Heavy Metal moments and Progressive passages that are always tastefully mixed into the arrangements without interfering with the music’s flow. Lyrical themes revolve around the current divide in the world in economics, politics, and ideas.

Production, handled by Roland Grapow (Masterplan, ex-Helloween), is amazing, with a wide soundstage, clarity in every instrument, breadth and depth in the synths, and unmatched weight in the drums, bass, and guitars. A little more attention to bringing vocal harmonies forward would be welcome, but there’s something to be said for the approach taken that showcases Ronnie’s vocal prowess better than wider choirs would.

Classic Heavy Metal heritage meets modern Prog/Power

Ronnie Romero’s vocals are extremely competent and bear an uncanny resemblance to another famous Ronnie, the one and only Ronnie James Dio. May he rest in peace. Richie Blackmore has described Romero’s voice as “a cross between Ronnie James Dio and Freddie Mercury,” and he’s not wrong. Hernando’s guitar playing and songwriting are spot on, threading on modern Power Metal while avoiding most of the genre’s clichés.

Album Breakdown

“Dying To Live” lives or dies by Romero’s vocal performance, which is spot on. The track is a proper Power Metal anthem, with inspired riffs and a sticky melody that will stay in your head for a long time. Lyrics revolve around a call-to-arms, linking to modern politics and the heroics of standing up and fighting for freedom.

“Into The Black” leans a little more into the band’s Progressive side while also paying homage to Power Metal greats Stratovarius. Lords of Black manage to come out the other side sounding heavier and more firmly grounded than their Finnish counterparts.

“Deliverance Lost” leans more into the tried-and-true formulas of Power Metal bands past and has a little bit less of what makes Lords of Black stand out. Nevertheless, it is an enjoyable track. It does lean a little further into the band’s Symphony X influence than the previous two songs, leaving the listener curious about what could be achieved by going all-out in that direction.

“Sacrifice” is a return to form to the idioms presented in the first tracks in the record while going slightly more radio-friendly. It is one of the greatest tracks in Alchemy of Souls. Headbanging and singing along guaranteed while listening to another great Power Metal hymn.

“Brightest Star” manages to navigate around a Neoclassical inspired atmosphere with originality and grace. Romero’s vocals are again a huge highlight, carrying the track with enviable ease and mastery. Yngwie should take notice!

“Closer To Your Fall” sees Lords of Black delving closer to Frontier’s signature AOR / Melodic Rock sound and will be a crowd-pleaser for fans of the label. While this is a more melodic song with elements of the 80’s sound, it is still quite heavy and fitting to the Power Metal alchemy of the Spanish duo.

“Shadows Kill Twice” with its piano intro will make you think it’s the unavoidable ballad in the record, but turns out to be one of the heaviest tracks in Alchemy of Souls. Another great headbanging moment courtesy of Romero and Hernando.

“Disease In Disguise” feels like one of the least momentous tracks in Alchemy Of Souls and seems to rehash ideas that have already been presented earlier in the record, but no matter. Romero’s vocal performance will still floor the listener and have you soldier through more of the same.

“Tides Of Blood” shows the band’s veneration of Classic Heavy Metal, delving more into the territory of classic bands like Rainbow, Deep Purple, or Dio’s solo career. Once again, Ronnie Romero delivers the goods, carrying the track almost on his own, filling every space with his signature Dio meets Freddie Mercury howl. The chorus is remarkably catchy and will have crowds singing along. That’s not to say the guitar playing by Hernando is not absolutely on point, creating the perfect counterpoint to Romero’s vocals, and shining on its own in a Blackmore-inspired solo.

Album namesake “Alchemy Of Souls” takes us to middle-eastern vibes and classical guitars in its intro, only to go back to slamming us with the world’s heaviest and moodiest breed of Power Metal that will have the listener headbanging hard. Romero’s vocal performance carries us from the detailed, intimate, clean sections into full-blown sing-along melodies in the bridge and chorus, another beautiful epic by Lord of Black that leans into the band’s Progressive side.

The album is crowned by “You Came to Me”, a piano ballad that gives plenty of room for Romero’s voice to shine but somehow makes for the weak leak in the chain of the masterpiece that is Alchemy of Souls.


Compared to the band’s prior catalog, Alchemy of Souls shows Lords of Black reaching full maturity in their sound and songwriting. Whereas tracks in Lords of Shadow and II might have been of the more generic kind of Power Metal, it is clear that the alchemy between Romero and Hernando has developed its full depth in this latest effort and plays to both musician’s strengths.

Wholeheartedly recommended to any fan of Classic Heavy Metal and Power Metal in general, Alchemy of Souls will definitely make this reviewer’s cut for the top 10 albums of 2020. This Power/Prog Metal masterpiece has earned its place in the hall of greats, along with the likes of Stratovarius’ Visions, Helloween’s Keeper of The Seven Keys, or Blind Guardian’s Nightfall on Middle-Earth.


Ronnie Romero – vocals
Tony Hernando – guitars
Jo Nunez – drums
Dani Criado – bass


Dying To Live Again
Into The Black
Deliverance Lost
Brightest Star
Closer To Your Fall
Shadows Kill Twice
Disease In Disguise
Tides Of Blood
Alchemy Of Souls
You Came To Me (Piano Version)


  • Alex Reis

    Alex is a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, born and raised in Curitiba, PR, Brazil, yet living in Antwerp, Belgium, since 2010. AC/DC was his first intro to Rock and Metal, but Metallica and Iron Maiden were the turning point for his love of the genre. Alex has played the guitar since he was 14, and has been an aspiring musician ever since.  Also serving as lead guitarist and vocalist for Belgian/Brazilian Hard Rock outfit SSC, Alex and co. have released a single a few years ago, but are yet to follow with a full-length  release that's been 20 years in the works. When Alex is not writing for MER or making music, he works at the Belgian tech scene, having served as CTO and other technical roles in numerous startups and organizations.

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