Ariel Chapius (Nocturna)
Lies of Smiles - Cross & claw (2010)
The first inlay page on the cd's book start with a "foreword" written by Davy Little, explaining how Lies of smiles began to take shape. Davy also tells us that was a great experience to see how this vision become manifest, creating and seeing where this journey leads. Well, I have the cd in my hands and can't wait to put it on my stereo player...and let that journey begin.
The album starts with a kind of Intro called "Something wicked (This way comes)", composed by Chris Wing, that not only plays bass, but also handles the keyboards and computer effects. This track is perfect to get you at the edge of the chair... waiting for what comes next, and I think that could easily be the beginning of a medieval warrior's film ready for the battle.
And Oh yeah!!! the action begins with "Fallen", composed by O'Neill, Thurlow and Little. Very intense, and I can notice, without hearing the rest of the cd still, that these guys have bet everything they had in this song. Excellent guitar riffs, Tony's voice is very powerful and gives you a good dose of adrenaline, believe me. I can clearly hear the bass, which is great due my unconditional love for that instrument, and the guitar's solos... what can I say? you must listen them to feel what I feel right now. As a bonus you'll can listen to Mick Tucker (Davy's partner in N.W.O.B.H.M. band Axis, also member of White Spirit and now in the awesome Tank!) doing a fantastic solo in the Outro.
Ok, "Fallen" has just gone... leaving me a sense of "wanting more of that".
The album continues with a short instrumental piece by Chris Wing called "Dream a dream". A very soft composition on keyboards with good atmosphere that guides you to "Torre de angeles", a song of those that makes you move your head instantly. A very contagious rhythm that you can not get it off in days!!! One of my favorite pieces of the work.
"Death from above (Divine wind)" the longer track with 8:10 minutes of pure British metal, well consolidated structure and again, excellent performance by all musicians, that in 8 minutes give us a lesson of very effective riffs and solo, a very fluid voice that it never fails and some excellent arrangements.
All these qualities are given in the following track, Stone Cold, perfectly, being richer and fuller and giving the instruments the amount of scope they really needed for that epic metal sound.
Then "...of time and stars" arrives to give us a break of all the british power with a really nice short intermesso performed by Pat O'Neill on guitar. Beautiful track in the right place of the album, just there to receive the last two songs.
"Just a man" with a blast of pretty good Rock, being by far clinically precise.
The final track is "The war hound and the worlds pain", starting with a fantastic series of arpeggios which are assembled with the versatile voice of Tony. I don’t have much to say about this song cos is a fantastic masterpiece like the other tracks, with really interesting rhythm changes and flowing melodies that will give you extreme pleasure for your ears. I swear!
About the packaging and artwork, I can say that is beautiful, with a lot of info about the band, containing of course all the lyrics and some photos as well.
Believe me when I say that this "Cross & claw" is a masterpiece, and are excellent musicians that work wonderfully together.
The length of the album is 41 minutes, and the question is...: could it have been longer?, well... I think that after listening to this album, for sure you will want more, but we'll see what they give us in the second one, cos in this debut album those 41 minutes are enough to prove you that Lies of Smiles knows how to make songs that surely will not disappoint you.
And for those who have the cd, please read again the foreword at the first page of the book. -"There is a light that still burns". Hell yeah! this Cross & Claw is a clear sign that there are still bands that may surprise you pleasantly and give you a fresh blast of music that will project beyond.