Lies of Smiles flex their metal wings…………and surprise us all!
Cross and Claw, LOS’s last CD was a slick piece of hard rock/metal that really showed some good, hard work put into it, and had some cool as hell songs to boot.
First off, the production is great, not as laser sharp as C&C, but has a warmth and depth, that gives the initial feeling that it doesn’t hit as hard as the first CD. Producer and engineer Fred Purser has taken the blueprint of the debut and reproduced it again here, but the production is warmer, more complex, heavier. On a few spins there is a “power beneath” that really gives an overall feeling of a complete piece of work.
Dreams of the Machinoix, the story, (see cover insert) sets the scene, is it a concept album, I am not so sure, but like C&C there is an undercurrent of a theme. This lengthy sleeve text gives a feeling of oppression and dark conspiracies that LOS seem to favor.
Opening with Dreams of the Machinoix a Wing (keyboards, bass, orchestration, vocals) instrumental composition leads us into Jerusalem Man. It has some serious kick ass guitar playing, and lyrically it’s a classic. Not sure who the Jerusalem Man is, God, Jesus, Devil, but you don’t want what he is selling. Storming solo, a real power house opening track and one of the best on the CD. Vocalist Tony thurlow makes an instant mark and is back in full force again here, with his melodic prowess matched by his sheer breathtaking power – right now in my mind, up with Jorn Lande & Tony Martin in this genre.
Cast the First Stone, is this Lucifer himself telling his story or asking for understanding? Great hook line, instantly memorable, LOS at this point going for short and powerful and catchy as hell, again blistering guitar work.
LOS’s first epic on the CD, Blood Red Game, a grand vision, and it utilizes the heavy production to create a real classic melodic metal opus. The vocals are awesome and the song is just a winner all the way through – hugely powerful. A war story to move the most cynical listener.
All fall down another short sharp blast, with an absolutely gorgeous intro guitar and keyboards, very retro, great hook lines a total winner in the 4 minute rock blast category with a hot solo and some power drumming from Verrill, LOS’s secret or not so secret weapon on this CD, his drumming really is top of the bill, he powers everything along with precision and some amazingly dexterous fills. A masterstroke to fill the percussion position with this highly talented drummer. He has improved LOS’s whole vibe, a more muscular, but refined approach.
From this point on there are no breaks in the songs, they all run into each other which makes for a real heavy, dark atmosphere, Dreamcatcher……..what a surprise, quirky, melodic, whimsical almost, but a strange dark undercurrent…. Aliens who capture dreams, live off dreams, way out there….shooting stars from afar…….could be the sign of the Machinoix after the intro and Jerusalem Man, two crafted, beautiful solos, the outro solo will give you shivers.
When you wish upon star, be careful what you wish for! Piano, twisted and out of key, leads into “She wears a Mask” surely a part of the Machinoix story, see the cover for the “She”. A Wing composition and a different singer, no details on the CD but I suspect the multi-skilled Wing sings this one as he is credited with vocals along with his other mastery, it is certainly not Thurlow who has a distinct growl and menace to his voice. Beautiful, what a short piece of genius, the atmosphere, the guitar performance, vocal performance, stunning. LOS have a talent for throwing in the unexpected, “of Time and Stars” off the C&C CD was another.
No break and SWAM builds and builds to rocket and gun fire to "God and Honor", back in with a gigantic riff and Thurlows gargantuan growl, no mistaking it. Another tribute to the non glory of war. Very solid.
So far we have had an outstanding CD, more diverse than C&C but striking in delivery and vision. I was led to believe after an email exchange with Davy Little, one of the guitar players from the band that there was a follow up to the Tower of Angels song from C&C, (apologies for comparing to Cross and Claw but that track was a masterpiece)………..It was never confirmed, but then we get "Ezekial’s Wheel…Ascension", this ranks with "Tower of Angels" as a lyrical and musical equal.
Awesome, lyrics that paint a vast picture, the Machinoix and LOS in full flight, UFO’s, God, Visitors from space, symbolism, it’s got it all, beautiful bass lines, immense power drumming and the end "Ascension" is pure melodic bad ass, a meld of intertwining guitars, vocals, bass, drums, what a way to end a great CD.
The sound and production on "Dreams of the Machinoix" is fantastic. With a sprinkle of progressive metal thrown into their mix of classic melodic metal, guitar riffing, searing solos, deep bass, brilliant keyboarding, power drumming, glorious vocals and great song writing, I cannot praise this band any higher. Buy it!