LIGHTFOLD were all but shrouded in darkness until I was sent their single “The Collector” a few weeks ago. Hailing from Greece, their style of heavy metal has a minor but ever-present prog influence, which manages to separate it from your typical heavy metal group. Their second record, “Deathwalkers”, is an existential concept album that explores the ideas of life, death, and pain. It attempts to paint a vivid picture in the listener’s mind, with support from numerous keyboard and synth tracks as well as from guest vocalists Margarita Papadimitriou, Christina Alexiou, and Sofia Karvouna, who create the female choirs.
Unfortunately, the musical storytelling within is greatly underwhelming. My foremost issue with “Deathwalkers” is with lead vocalist (and, consequently, the one who’s supposed to be telling the stories) Martin Deathwalker. In a heavy metal band like this, the vocalist can either make or break the band, and in the case of Deathwalker, his delivery constantly falls short. There’s no passion or dynamism to match the pounding beats or to highlight the choruses and, as a result, the focal point of the band is incredibly weak.
“Deathwalkers”‘ saving grace is twofold, lying in the hands of the kickass drumming and the relentless lead guitar. Axeman Thanasis Labrakis lays out some serious shredding, and every single guitar solo on the record is exceptionally performed. The riffs are also pretty solid, but holy shit are these solos ever great. A couple that stand out for me are the ones in “Behind the Veil” and “Beyond the Unknown”. The rhythm section plays some really cool grooves under the solos, which only adds to their quality.
There’s a weird mix of tracks on this album. Not because of style choice or anything like that, but because of the blatant difference in quality among some songs (and even within songs). Some tracks, like “Demon Upon Me” and “Deathwalkers (Julia)”, are wholly excellent and contain a perfect amount of prog elements. However, songs such as “Angel of the Earth” and “Save Me” are generic, uninspired and come across as filler material. The former isn’t all bad (no song on the record is all bad) thanks to the masterful drumming, but in the case of “Save Me”, I not only wouldn’t have opened with it, I would have scrapped it entirely. Yeah, the solo’s fucking awesome, but that isn’t enough to redeem a shitty song.
In the end, the many great components of the album aren’t enough to fully outweigh the negatives. Between a few lazy tracks and mediocre vocals, there’s not enough juice to take “Deathwalkers” from being good to being great. That being said, it’s definitely good enough to give a listen.
Originally written for PowerThorn.com.