Laudamus - Lost In Vain
Escape Music
Melodic 80's Style Heavy Metal
10 songs (41'15)
Release year: 2003
Laudamus, Escape Music
Reviewed by Marty
Laudamus is Swedish band whose Latin name translates loosely into English as "We praise" and yes, they are a Christian band. Even if that is a turn-off for you, this band has a great sound and solid songs. Stryper was one of the first Christian metal bands and enjoyed great success even amongst those who really just liked them for their music and their songs, not because of the lyrical content and subject matter. I actually find Laudamus to be a little less preachy as far as the religious overtones to their lyrics, instead, opting for more uplifting and spiritual imagery. This band has existed since the early 90's with many line-up changes and now consists of Peter Stenlund, guitars and vocals, Jonas Stenlund, bass and Jonas Cederteg on drums. This new album, Lost In Vain is just the band's second album, after their debut in 1999. They get lots of help from some guest musicians including Marty Friedman, who does a solo on the title track, Lost In Vain, Jeff Scott Soto, who provides lead vocals for In The Final Hour, Rob Rock, who sings on the track Die and Kee Marcello (Europe) who does some lead solos on the track Free.

With 10 tracks and a total time of just over 40 minutes, it's not the only thing that's a throw back to the 80's era of metal. With a big heavy and melodic style, influences from such 80's giants as Dokken, Scorpions, Mr. Big and Stryper (of course) can be heard with a little of the de-tuned chunky heaviness of a more modern metal style. Each song has a great catchy groove and the occasional use of keyboards over a crunching heavy guitar track brings Angel Dust to mind. Soulful and melodic, the choruses to every song are extremely catchy and are not likely to leave your mind for a while after hearing them. The styles of songs range from chunky heavy riff-based melodic heavy metal (Lost In Vain, Mother Evolution) to some more slower and bluesy heavy metal a la Badlands (My Heart's On Fire). Mixing in several other styles like the fast boogie riffing of Die and the big booming Deep Purple style riffing on Free, they manage to deliver a very diverse and extremely enjoyable album to listen to. Big gang style singing for the choruses gives them a Tooth and Nail era Dokken sound and they manage to crank out one real head banger with the track Salvation. This one is a solid and charging heavy song and is the most up-tempo and aggressive track on the smokes!! Lead vocalist Peter Stenlund has a great range and control over his voice and his use of layered vocals throughout brings an immense richness and melody to their music. The lead guitar playing is another highlight of this album. With a Michael Schenker style of expressive and fast leads, the phrasing and emotion that they bring to the songs brings bands like U.F.O. and Scorpions to mind.

This band really surprised me. Most times, I will try to listen to an album 3 times before reviewing it and believe me, sometimes I have to force myself to listen to some of them that many times. This is not the case here. After 4 or 5 spins, I still find myself reaching out and putting this one into my car CD player yet again. I really loved the melodic Dokken, Scorpions sound of the 80's with the big fat guitar sound, ripping expressive lead guitar and big solid choruses and we don't get too many bands nowadays with that sort of sound. Religious overtones or not, this band is worth checking out. It may not be the most original stuff you've ever heard, but for a slice of nostalgia without dusting off your Dokken, Scorpions or Mr. Big CDs try this band out. I think you'll like it.....

Killing Songs :
Lost In Vain, Mother Evolution, Die and Salvation
Marty quoted 78 / 100
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