Independent rock band Lord released its latest record this week. Its new covers compilation, Undercovers Vol. 1 released Friday through Dominus Records. The 23-song (yes, 23 songs) comes less than a year after the trio released its then latest EP, Chaos Raining, and approximately two years after the release of its then latest new album, Fallen Idols. This latest compilation stands out from so many other compilations already released this year in part because of its featured songs. This will be discussed shortly. The band’s take on the songs makes for its own share of interest and will be discussed a little later. The songs’ sequencing puts the finishing touch to the record’s presentation. When this element is considered along with the other noted items, the record in whole proves that while it is largely a space filler between albums, is still a positive addition to Lord’s catalog.
Lord’s new covers compilation, Undercovers Vol. 1 is a positive new presentation from the longtime independent hard rock band. The record’s appeal comes in large part through its songs. The songs are important to note in that they are not just a bunch of songs that the band recorded specially for this compilation. Rather, they are mostly covers that the band has recorded throughout its life and has only now made available together. Simply put, they were brought together as a way to entertain the band’s fans in lieu of a live recording and even new live dates while promoters and venue heads decide their next steps for live music. They are not just some random space-filler used to appease contractual obligations.
Bassist Andy Dowling explained the songs’ collection during a recent interview.
“Covers have been a big love of ours since the early days of Dungeon right up to and including now,” said Dowling. “Over the years in Lord these tracks have ended up on limited edition releases, bonus tracks in isolated parts of the world and other weird and wonderful places. These songs have been scattered over so many different places that even we struggle ourselves to remember where on earth all of these songs can be found.”
“While bands around the world continue to navigate these uncertain times, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to release this collection of cover songs, as well as new recordings, to keep the LORD machine moving while we continue to write new music,” he added.
Additionally, Dowling pointed out that two of the songs featured in the compilation — Savage Garden’s ‘To the Moon and Back’ and Judas Priest’s ‘Reckless’ – were the only songs specially recorded for the compilation. Those two songs are only a small portion of the 23 (yes, 23) total songs featured in this recording, and are important because they are a highlight of the diversity in the collection. The band also took on The Police (‘Message in a Bottle’) here, as well as songs from Bon Jovi, Helloween, Metallica, and Little River Band just to name a handful of other acts featured in the compilation. The short and simple is that the bands covered here come from a wide range of genres. From hard rock –Metallica, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Anthrax – to classic rock – Little River Band – to 80s hair rock – Bon Jovi – to prog – Queensryche, Symphony X – to mainstream pop and rock – The Police, Savage Garden – Lord takes on music from so many influences. That diversity in the bands and music featured here helps to build the band’s reputation and at the same time, perhaps even introduce audiences to music to which they might not have otherwise listened. If for no other reason, that diversity in the bands and songs will keep audiences engaged and entertained. It is of course just one of the elements that make this recording so interesting. The band’s performance of said songs adds to the record’s interest.
Lord’s take on The Police’s ‘Message in a Bottle’ is just one example of the importance of the band’s performances. Lord’s take on the classic song is interesting in that while it stays largely true to its source material, it essentially amps up that original in a sort of 80s power metal style work. That updated take — complete with machine gun-fast bass drum work, melodic guitar lines, and operatic vocals – shows that the song strangely enough works just as well in this case as in the original presentation. It is not one of those woks that hits listeners in its first listen, either. Rather, it will grow on listeners with each listening, highlighting its longevity.
The band’s take on a-ha’s ‘The Sun Always Shines on TV’ is yet another example of the band’s performances here. In the case of this performance, the band has opted more for an 80s hair metal style performance that makes for quite the contrast against a-ha’s keyboard-driven original composition. There is the slightest touch of a power ballad early on in the original composition, what with the string arrangement, but that soon gives way to the band’s more familiar new wave approach, which is more present throughout the song. Lord’s take on the song, as noted, is more of an 80s hair power ballad type work. It gives a-ha’s original quite the unique new identity in this case with its amped up take on the song. Where it ends up standing with listeners will be left for those audiences to decide. That aside, it definitely makes for its own interest.
W.A.S.P. is another of the bands whose work is covered in this compilation. In this case, Lord took on the band’s hit song ‘Wild Child.’ In this case, the stylistic approach taken by Lord is largely the same as that of W.A.S.P. The difference is that Lord’s cover is actually an improvement on the original. It would seem here that is more due to the production. The production makes the song sound so much fuller and richer here than the original. It makes the song sound more modern with a throwback feel. To that end, it is yet another example of the impact of the band’s performances here, and the importance thereof. When it is considered along with the other performances noted here and the rest of the record’s featured performances, the whole of those performances makes for even more engagement and entertainment. It is just one more example of what makes this compilation worth hearing. The sequencing of the songs featured in this compilation rounds out its most important elements.
The sequencing of Undercovers Vol. 1 is important to examine because of its role in the record’s general effect. The record starts in contemplative fashion with its cover of Savage Garden’s ‘To the Moon and Back’ but very quickly after, it picks up with its take of Iron Maiden’s ‘Judas Be My Guide.’ It is not even until the record reaches its midpoint in its take of Cutting Crew’s ‘(I Just) Died In Your Arms’ that the album’s energy even remotely pulls back. From that point on, the compilation’s energy remains relatively high, even as the band takes on what are some otherwise reserved songs. Even in those cases, the band manages to amp up those songs, including their energies. So overall, the sequencing ensures that the album’s energy remains relatively high throughout its 100-minute (one hour, 40 minute) run time. That the record’s energy remains relatively high, and even gives a break point roughly halfway through ensures that the record will run fluidly throughout, ensuring even more, listeners’ engagement and entertainment. When that certain engagement and entertainment is considered with the impact of the band’s unique performances and the variety of songs featured here, that whole makes the compilation overall, its own standout presentation. Add in the fact that this compilation marks the first time that the band has ever united the previously recorded covers in one setting, and the compilation gains even more appeal. It shows that this was not just some randomly recorded presentation used to appease contractual obligations. Between this and everything else noted, the record in whole proves to be a covers collection that is actually worth hearing.
Lord’s new covers compilation Undercovers Vol. 1 is an interesting presentation that rockers and even pop music fans alike will find worth hearing at least once. That is due in part to the songs featured in the recording. The band does not just take on a bunch of hard rock and metal songs here, though there are a lot of those songs featured here. The band also takes on songs from pop and pop rock acts, such as Savage Garden, The Police, a-ha, and even Kylie Minogue. That variety in itself makes for reason enough to hear this presentation. That only two of the songs featured here were specially recorded for the compilation shows that this was not just some randomly thrown together presentation that was made to appease any contractual obligations for the band. Rather, it was a way for the band to bring together so many of the covers that it has recorded over the course of its life. That makes the presentation more special in itself. The band’s performance of the featured covers makes for its own appeal. That is because they give those originals their own unique identities from one to the next. The songs’ sequencing rounds out the most important of the compilation’s elements. That is because it ensures the record’s pacing remains stable throughout while also constantly giving listeners something interesting rather than redundant. Each item noted here is unquestionably important in its own way to the whole of the compilation’s presentation. All things considered, they make the record a work that despite being a covers compilation, still a presentation that is worth hearing, and at least once at that. Undercovers Vol. 1 is available now through Dominus Records.
More information on Undercovers Vol. 1 is available along with all of Lord’s latest news and more at:
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