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Lorien - Czarny Kwiat Lotosu

Lorien -  CD Review
Czarny Kwiat Lotosu

CD Info
Label: Imagina Music
12 Tracks
Language: Polish

As an American, I can sadly tell you there are some real drawbacks to living in this country. Ranking high among these is the general lack of curiosity about, and respect for, other countries and cultures that is all too prevalent here. Indeed, one often feels there is an anti-intellectual climate here which discourages any interest in the doings of the rest of the world (unless it serves some political or economic purpose of course). And so it is that for most of my life, up until just a couple of years ago, I would never have guessed at the musical treasures contained within the borders of Poland. After all, the Polish are regularly caricatured and stereotyped for the purposes of a rather crude class of jokes in this country. As for any actual knowledge of Polish life or culture, forget it, it’s almost non-existent in the States. If you were to ask the average American what they thought of Polish music, you’d most likely see some very strange expressions on people’s faces. Hopefully, though, this is changing in at least one segment of the population, those music fans interested in female-fronted rock/metal, because for years now Poland has been producing some of the best music of this kind to be found anywhere.

I have recently discovered another band in the Polish femme-metal club, Lorien, who have been around for almost a decade but apparently don’t have a lot to show for it -- just two full albums so far. This is the second one, Czarny Kwiat Lotosu (Black Lotus Flower if I’ve translated that correctly). Although not yet quite ready to upstage their compatriots, the band does show remarkable promise and I find several of the songs contained herein to be very enjoyable. I hear a lot of similarities to Closterkeller, Artrosis, and Naamah, so obviously they’re doing something right. With just a little more songwriting focus and refinement of sound, I think there’s a very bright future here.

Lead singer Inga also sounds much like her counterparts in some of the other bands, and this is certainly a huge asset in the band’s favor. I could grow to like her voice in a big way. Oh what am I saying, I already have! Some songs also have male vocals, which are “take it or leave it”; I’m leaning toward the latter. At one point the guy uses a pseudo-rapping style which is almost humorous. Fortunately Inga handles the majority of the singing. On the instrumental front, the guitar work is impressive through much of the album, especially the bass which has such an expressive “groove” (I know that’s vague, but hey I’m no musician so that’s what you‘re stuck with). The percussion also pleases my ears with a nice crisp and full sound, and some soothing low-key synthesizer backing can be found here and there. All in all, a well-rounded and cohesive group of musicians, they are.

The songs are on the short side, and twelve of them are stuffed into a mere 44 minutes. I would have sworn it was longer though, and the first time I checked the length I was surprised. I think it sounds longer than it is due to some repetitiveness; there are several songs that sound too much alike, and the album would not have really suffered if a few had been cut (and perhaps a few others lengthened). While I can assign a general label of “good”, there are a few songs impressing the hell out of me. Chief among these is “Piqs”, which reminds me for all the world of a metallized “Saved By Zero” by The Fixx (I always did love that song). “Dla Mnie Catej” showcases some lovely guitar textures. “Aniot Do Evy” is also surely one of the best tracks offered here. Actually there isn’t really a bad song in the bunch, even if a few of them do flirt with mediocrity. And even though Polish isn’t my favorite language to hear sung, somehow it doesn’t bother me one bit in this case; the vocals flow so naturally with the music that it just feels “right”.

A band to keep an eye (and ear) on, for sure.