Released: 2016, Pure Legend Records
Formed in 1993, Germany’s Lanfear remains criminally unknown to most of the metal world. THE CODE INHERITED is the band’s 6th LP, following an intervening period of four years since THIS HARMONIC CONSONANCE in 2012. The band’s style continues to be a German brand of power metal mixed with progressive elements and an emphasis on melody. A good approximation would be if you mixed Morgana Lefay and Mystic Prophecy with Symphony X. Fast, muted riffs with soaring and melodic choruses are the order of the day, but ultimately Lanfear remains difficult to categorize, which is just the way the band likes it.
The lineup remains intact from the last album and the boys comes out swinging with the darkly pounding and somewhat sinister “The Delusionist.” Singer Nuno Miguel de Barros Fernandes (how’s that for a name?) delivers multiple vocal personas and styles here, from growling snarls to soaring highs. Musically, the song is complex and fast with precision picked guitars leading the way backed by a pummeling rhythm section. “The Opaque Hourglass” is similar in tempo until Fernandes delivers an emotive and connecting chorus. It is an ideal tune for conveying the band’s prowess at blending speedy and intricate riffs with catchy and melodic sections.
The title track represents the progressive and experimental leanings of Lanfear, clocking in at nearly eleven minutes. It is a twisting and complicated song, admirable, but difficult to digest. The band continues to vary things through the album, slowing things down a bit on “Self-Assembled” while going heavy, fast, and dark again for “Converging Saints.” Be sure to hang around for the end, in case you think you have Lanfear figured out, because they throw a curve ball with album closer “Summer of ’89.” While not a cover song, it is an unmistakable reference to Bryan Adam’s “Summer OF ‘69” and the band adorns it with plenty of late 80s window dressing, like that predictable Hollywood-happy opening riff from guitar wizard Markus Ullrich and 80s keyboards to fill the gaps. The song works though, showing that Lanfear just does not give a damn about expectations, proving to be fans of music in general, not just fans of dark and speedy progressive metal.
THE CODE INHERITED is competently produced, with an emphasis on capturing the crunch of the guitars and Fernandes’s varied vocals. Everything is played with precision and technical accomplishment, the band proving their musical chops all over the album. This release is a worthy addition to Lanfear’s catalog and it provides enough variety and complexity to keep fans occupied for another four years until the next album comes out.