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The Firstborn: Lions Among Men

It's always exciting when bands decide that they are going to explore different musical possibilities rather than return to old clichés. I'm not talking about the radical musical departures that some bands attempt only to end up alienating their most dedicated fans. No, I'm talking about the kind of musical explorations that to uncover what is possible within heavy metal itself. Lions Among Men is that kind of release--a record that reaches beyond what others have done in order to express itself more effectively. The result is a satisfying heavy album that fits well with the high standards already set by The Firstborn's prior work.

The Firstborn has already been around for 10 years, but they are certainly not stuck in the past. They are a hardworking band, steadily expanding their fan base outside of their native Portugal with regular touring and ambitious songwriting. Lions Among Men is their fourth release and offers up a balanced diet of heavy metal sounds that range from extreme vocals to cleaner, more melodic lines. They also explore a wider range of musical possibilities, many of which are drawn from the Buddhist philosophies they've been embracing. Listen, for example, to tracks like "Varja Eyes," for the blending of eastern-influenced violin parts and, especially, "Sounds Liberated as Mantra" for the way The Firstborn utilizes the chord progressions and musical soundscape inspired by Buddhism. I enjoyed these tracks because they don't feel like mere experiments with difference; instead, the sound was more organic, natural to the album as a whole.

This is an inspiring release, one that is different from other recordings I've heard so far this year. I'd recommend it to fans of The Firstborn and to listeners who are hoping to discover a sound that is simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar, heavy and melodic, exciting and spiritual.

Track Listing:
1. Lions Among Men
2. Without as Within
3. Wantless
4. Vajra Eyes
5. Eight Flashing Lances
6. Nothing Attained, Nothing Spoken
7. Sounds Liberated as Mantra

Added: March 23rd 2012
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Myspace Page
Hits: 2031
Language: english

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