Independent, up-and-coming metal outfit Lutharo’s new EP Wings of Agony is a welcome new addition to this year’s field of new hard rock and metal records in general. That is due to the growth that the five-song record – the band’s second EP and second studio recording – exhibits in comparison to its 2018 debut EP Unleash The Beast. This record takes the musical and lyrical content from that record and builds on each element with the result being a presentation that is even stronger than its predecessor. The noted musical and lyrical content will be discussed separately here. The musical and lyrical content is only a potion of what makes Wings of Agony stand out as a positive new offering from Lutharo. The EP’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements. It will also be discussed here. All three elements are important in their own way to the whole of Wings of Agony. All things considered, they make the EP a presentation that will appeal to any metal fan.
This past March, Lutharo released its sophomore EP – and second overall studio recording – in the form of Wings of Agony. The 25-minute presentation is a work that will appeal to any metal purist. It is another positive step forward for the band in its journey to becoming one of the metal community’s next big names. That is proven in part through the record’s musical arrangements. Whereas the musical arrangements featured in the band’s 2018 debut EP Unleash The Beast were focused primarily on a combination of power and death metal, this EP’s arrangements find the band taking a step forward and expanding its horizons. Case in point is the EP’s second single, ‘Blood Lightning.’ The band — John Raposo and Victor Bucur on guitar, front woman Krista Shipperbottom, bassist Chris Pacey and drummer Duval Gabraiel – takes the power and death metal sound exhibited in Unleash The Beast and hones it even more. There is more balance between Shipperbottom’s screams and clean vocals here than in the songs in the band’s previous EP. What’s more, the production comes across as being cleaner, adding to the general effect. It is just one way in which the EP’s musical content stands out. ‘Will To Survive’ makes the EP’s musical content stand out, too.
‘Will To Survive’ is such a full, powerful composition. At its base is a speed metal style arrangement to which each member of the band contributes equally. From the shredding guitars to the precision in the timekeeping to the low-end from the bass to the powerhouse vocals, every element works so well here. This song’s arrangement is easily likened to works from Arch Enemy past and present. In comparison to the songs featured in Unleash The Beast, there is really nothing comparable. Again, it shows the band members’ creative growth. It is just one more way in which the record’s musical content shows its importance. ‘Diamond Back’ is another example of the importance of the EP’s musical arrangements.
‘Diamond Back,’ the EP’s second track, takes the band’s already established talents in death metal and metal in general, and adds a touch of metalcore influence into the mix. That metalcore influence is especially audible in the drums and guitars, subtle as it is. It lends itself to comparisons to works from As I Lay Dying and other harder-edged metalcore acts. The combination of those influences is well-balanced here, with the result being another work that is just as enjoyable as the EP’s other arrangements. When it is considered with the other arrangements noted here and the EP’s other pair of arrangements not discussed here, the end result is an overall musical presentation that will engage and entertain metal purists even more than that of Lutharo’s debut EP.
While the musical content featured in Lutharo’s latest EP goes a long way toward making the record enjoyable, it is just one part of what makes the record so appealing. The musical content’s lyrical accompaniments add their own share of interest to the EP. Again, the album’s latest single, ‘Blood Lightning’ is a prime example to cite. The band explained the song’s lyrical theme in a prepared statement.
“The song ‘Blood Lightning’ is about having such an extreme passion for something so much so that it sets your soul on fire, for better or for worse,” the statement reads. “It is the endless struggle of putting your blood, sweat, and tears into something and receiving next to nothing in return. However, when you do catch a glimpse of your progress, it is enough to keep pushing forward even when you are constantly being beaten down and put to war. The music video for ‘Blood Lightning’ showcases all of the physical, emotional, financial, etc. Hard work that is put into pursuing your dreams in music.”
That statement is illustrated best through the song’s chorus, which finds Shipperbottom and company singing, “Each day I’ve spent/Ripping my heart to shreds/This dream I’ve bred/Now wide awake/These reins I’ve held/I grant them off to chance/Leaving the cuts on my hands/Unachievable bliss/Wrecked all of my innocence/Douse my wounds in gasoline/Cast my blood to lightning.” This is a concept to which so many listeners will connect, considering that everyone has been in this position at one point or another at least once in life. It is just one of the EP’s most notable lyrical presentations. ‘Will To Survive’ is another example of why audiences will want to pay attention to the EP’s lyrical content.
‘Will To Survive’ stands out because it also comes across as taking on the issue of self-determination, much like ‘Blood Lightning.’ This case is different from that of ‘Blood Lightning’ at the same time, though. That is because this song seems to come across as being from the vantage point of someone who has realized that they have let that determination get the better of himself/herself. That is inferred in the song’s lead verse, which finds Shipperbottom singing, “Oh I shook hands with the devil himself/Our grip held the contents of hell/Conceit was spilling over his gaze/He nods at me now/It’s make or break/Make or break/It has begun/No time to waste/My calloused Core/they’ll never shake/ Behind these walls my life awaits.” The song’s second verse adds to that inference as she sings, “Oh I’ve struck gold with a consequence/A gift to bare with a great expense/Yet I’m still fighting profitless/Proving my worth with every step/No repent/And Peace will come to those who’ve spent/My freedom wears a heightened sense/So line em ’up/I’ll pay my debt.” Again, it comes across as a person realizing that success has perhaps come at too great a cost. In other words, it comes across as sending that message of making sure that in one’s self-determination, one does not get too deep and let things get out of control. It is just one more example of why the EP’s lyrical content is so important to its whole. ‘Diamond Back’ is another notable way in which the EP’s lyrical content proves so important.
‘Diamond Back’ comes across as being another proudly defiant work that reminds listeners not to let adversity stop them in life. In this case, that adversity would apparently come from those who would try to bring one down. Shipperbottom says to those people in the song’s chorus, “It will give me great pleasure To take your last breath away/No remorse now/Trust in me/My skin is tougher than you’ll ever be/I gather my strength from which you lack/Forever Bearing a diamond back.” That very mention of “bearing a diamond back” is a reference to a rattlesnake, which is a very dangerous species of snake. What she comes across as saying here is that she’s always ready to strike (metaphorically, not literally) and that she is stronger than those people who want to tear her down. She adds to the statement in the song’s second verse, “Proud I stand from which I’ve lead/Ruthless actions vast condemned/The moral plain to be said/Cross my path I’ll take your head.” Again, here listeners get that seeming message of defiance and determination. The rest of the song’s lyrical content builds on this statement and shows even more why the song is one more key example of the importance of the EP’s lyrical content. When it is considered along with the rest of the EP’s noted lyrical content and that content not addressed here, the end result is such that it will appeal just as much to listeners as the EP’s musical arrangements. Even as much as the EP’s lyrical content does to make it engaging and entertaining, it still is not the last of the record’s most notable content. The EP’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.
Wings of Agony’s sequencing ensures the record’s energy does its part to keep listeners engaged from start to finish. It succeeds in that avenue, too. The album starts off heavy and fast in ‘Barren.’ While the song’s opening bars are brooding and slow, the rest of the song is intense and extremely upbeat. The same applies to the EP’s other four songs. What this means is that the album’s energy remains high throughout its body, ensuring audiences are kept engaged from start to end of the EP. That is a positive in its own right to the whole of this record. When it is considered along with the EP’s musical and lyrical content, it shows once and for all why this EP is a presentation that every metal purist will appreciate.
Lutharo’s sophomore EP Wings of Agony is a presentation that will leave listeners feeling anything but agony. It is in fact a presentation that the metal masses will appreciate. That is proven in part through its musical arrangements. The musical arrangements featured in this record show obvious growth from the band in whole. It has taken the power and death metal influences exhibited in the band’s debut EP and built on that in each song here. The lyrical content that accompanies the musical arrangements is accessible in its own right. The EP’s sequencing ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment in its own right, too. Each noted element is important in its own right to the whole of this record. All things considered, it becomes a work that every metal purist should hear at least once if not more. Wings of Agony is available now.
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