Reviewed: April, 2021
Released: 2021, Dominus Records
I have always enjoyed when metal bands cover other artists. It provides some insight into their musical tastes and influences, and often reveals some of a band’s non-metal musical interests. The problem with so many cover albums though is that the selections are frequently obvious or have been done countless times by other artists. They cease to provide any intrigue or surprises. Australia’s power metal sons Lord have covered a wide variety of artists and styles through the years scattered across live sets, limited editions, and bonus tracks released in different parts of the world. UNDERCOVERS sees the band bring them all together in a hefty two-disc package that includes two new covers written specifically for the album.
The pandemic has devastated the music industry, as musicians around the world struggle with maintaining a connection with their fans now that live shows are essentially extinct. UNDERCOVERS serves as a bridge to the next new album for fans of the band and a reminder that they are still active. I rarely review cover albums because I prefer to provide exposure to new and original music from bands, but due to the unique track selection on this album and the pandemic’s impact on music releases in general, I decided to make an exception.
UNDERCOVERS contains twenty-three songs, two of which are cover songs by singer/guitarist Lord Tim’s Blackened Angel project. Lord never strays far from the original songs, but expectedly adds distorted guitars and keyboards that are consistent with their power metal style. Two inspired and brave choices are Judas Priest’s “Reckless” and Iron Maiden’s “Judas Be My Guide”, both lifted from albums often considered weaker members of each band’s impressive catalogs. Not surprisingly, these are two songs that are both deep album tracks and underrated. I felt for years that I was one of the few that thought “Reckless” was one of the best tunes on TURBO, so this was a personal surprise.
“Hard To Love” from Harem Scarem is another inspired choice that Lord nails with obvious enthusiasm along with Queensrÿche’s “The Whisper.” Possibly the highlight of the album is Helloween’s “Someone’s Crying”, which Lord delivers with a ferocity that is missing on some of the other tunes. Two more worthy metal songs would be Symphony X’s “Of Sins and Shadows” and X-Japan’s “Silent Jealousy”
Paying homage to past Australian chart toppers, Lord covers Kylie Minogue, Cutting Crew, Icehouse, and John Farnham. There are other non-metal tunes as well, with A-HA’s “The Sun Always Shines on TV” benefiting from some kick drumming and intensifying without detracting from the overall song. Icehouse’s “Touch The Fire” is rendered to near hair metal status, but in a good way. Surprisingly, Minogue’s “A Night Like This” is even tolerable, with the dance beats being replaced by some heavily distorted guitars and tasteful guitar fills.
With these many songs, not all choices will be great. “Message In A Bottle” has been covered ad nauseum and Lord does nothing new or notable with it. Likewise, covering Pantera is almost always a questionable decision, as few bands can match the intensity or brutality of the original. Lord proves this once again on a weak version of “Shattered.” Overall, UNDERCOVERS accomplishes what Lord intended, which is to consolidate all of these cover songs into one complete package. The choices are discerning and mostly enjoyable. Recommended for Lord fans and all cover song enthusiasts.
1. To the Moon and Back (Savage Garden cover)
2. Judas be my Guide (Iron Maiden cover)
3. Send Me an Angel (Real Life cover)
4. Of Sins and Shadows (Symphony X cover)
5. Message in a Bottle (The Police cover)
6. Shattered (Pantera cover)
7. Playing to Win (Little River Band, John Farnham cover)
8. Someone’s Crying (Helloween cover)
9. Hard to Live (Harem Scarem cover)
10. Creeping Death (LIVE) (Metallica cover)
11. (I Just) Died in Your Arms (Cutting Crew cover)
12. Reckless (Judas Priest cover)
13. Silent Jealousy (X Japan cover)
14. I Want Out (LIVE) (Helloween cover)
15. The Sun Always Shines on TV (A-ha cover)
16. The Whisper (Queensryche cover)
17. Touch the Fire (Icehouse cover)
18. Wild Child (LIVE) (W.A.S.P. cover)
19. Break the Ice (John Farnham cover)
20. Runaway (Bon Jovi cover)
21. On a Night Like This (Kylie Minogue cover)
22. Madhouse by Blackened Angel (Anthrax cover)
23. Night People by Blackened Angel (Dio cover)
Lord Tim – lead vocals, guitar, keyboards
Andy Dowling – bass, vocals
Mark Furtner – guitar, vocals