Behold this band from Belgium, Lemuria, soon-to-be big name in metal music circles! I am not exaggerating a single bit here. The band's sophomore album 'Chanson de la Croisade' comes six years after the more folk metalish debut (which however, is kept as a demo) 'Tales, Ale & Fire' (2005), but in this case, better late than never. One can hear the years of work put into this epic masterpiece.
'Chanson de la Croisade' (translates to something like "songs of the Crusades", I presume) tells a tale happening in France during the times of the Crusades. There are various characters in this bloody story, presented with different vocals, such as various growls, shrieks, spoken stuff, all working really well. I'm not going into more detailed overview of the concept, but it is all beautifully presented in a digipak form, with cover art by Kris Verwimp. By the way, 99 percent of the lyrics are in English.
With this album, Lemuria mate metal music with orchestral, soundtrack style scores. What would you think about hearing Turisas, Bal-Sagoth, Cradle Of Filth and Ensiferum mixed together? Yes, it could make one anxious and sceptical, I admit that. However, I'm standing in awe with eyes and mouth open, and especially ears, as Lemuria is blazing from the speakers! They actually managed to make this one a hit.
As this is a concept album, there are varying atmospheres and feelings in it. It can be epic, ominous, melancholic, ambient, anything... Whatever the story needs. The music is very driving, storm of events. It does not need to be followed by reading the lyrics, because it is so well composed, that one can enjoy individual songs as well as the whole. The soundtrack elements do not remind of "Kingdom of Heaven" style Hollywood stuff. Okay, maybe at times they do, but different atmospheres are finely portrayed in orchestrated bits. These are practically constantly present and intertwined together with metal music. There are three short orchestral-only songs, remaining nine include metal music too. Metal music side is a fine blend of aforementioned bands, but Lemuria still sound individual. They've taken their influences and made their own brew from it all. I should name one more band, though: Children Of Bodom, just because 'A Coming Storm' sounds a lot like this Finnish band used to sound, meaning awesome, only more epic. Anyway, the whole album, all 64 minutes of it, is fine, without any purposeless material. It is both catchy and bountiful experience in all. Sound-wise this is well balanced, without leaving something cryptic. It is an achievement in itself, because of all the things going on. It sounds clear, but also powerful.
It is pointless to do a track-by-track review on this one. First, it'd be ridiculous long. Second, all main points are mentioned here now. This one needs to be experienced, really. Even then, when you loathe any band(s) mentioned in this review. Believe me, Lemuria make it work, big time! 'Chanson de la Croisade' is a classic in the making. Support the band putting so much into this album and do as I'm going to do after this review is finished: Order the album...
Rating: 8½ (out of 10) ratings explained
Reviewed by Lane