As a fellow Canadian, and a fellow melodic metal fan, the opportunity to review Lutharo’s new album, Hiraeth, filled me with excitement. Formed in 2013, Lutharo hails from Hamilton, Ontario and has left us with nothing short of astonishment using their talents to sculpt an epic musical sound that sees aspects of power and death collide in combination with skillfully crafted melodies, artful harmonies, and detailed precision that brings a hard-hitting punch to listeners around the world.
Hiraeth debuted on October 15th, 2021 hot on the tail of their debut EP ‘Unleash the Beast’ in 2018, and their 2020 EP ‘Wings of Agony’. Within a year, the title track off their 2020 EP, “Wings of Agony”, amassed over 200 000 views on Youtube, and over 100 000 streams on Spotify which set the bar insanely high for the new album.
A deadly march down a crimson corridor starts Hiraeth out with unmatched passion in their introductory track “Introspection”. The feature of powerful guitars, and feverish drumming set the stage for what easily becomes an album of unmeasurable power.
In less than 2 minutes, the first track arrives called “To Kill or to Crave” and breaks through any worrisome barriers with Krista Shipperbottom’s frightful and signature scream. This leads into a hastened pace throughout with crushing guitar work and speedy drums that let’s listeners know that Lutharo plans to hold nothing back.
“What Sleeps in Your Mind” starts in a similar feel but, quickly changes gears with an almost power-metal like vibe in piercing guitars and hanging bass from the talented Chris Pacey. A light but captivating vocal chorus shatter the track with familiar screams and guttural cries to bring in head-banging solos that even new fans will find themselves swaying to. A terrifying drop partway through brings in new elevation with reverberating shreds and harmonious beats that cascade into light-hearted pickups before quickly dropping you back into reality; reminding you just who you’re listening to.
Follow-up tracks like “Phantom” and “Worship Your Path” keep up pace with “To Kill or to Crave” with heavy drums, deepened bass sections, and high-octane guitar solos as expected with the skills of Victor Bucur and John Rapuso. Krista’s vocals reach new heights by exploring epic highs and harsh lows throughout that catch listeners and completely ensnare them.
“Hopeless Abandonment” is reminiscent of deep ballads and heartfelt fairytales rung in by a thunderous howl that chases speeding drums, dropping bass and remarkable guitars. Combined with Krista’s high solo, there is an eerie serenity to this song; as if the lyrics and the story told can be curved by vivid imagination to form a tale all your own. Adventure, sorrow, passion, and fear ring deeply in this track which quickly lead it into becoming my favourite.
There is no shortness of epic solos, piercing cries, or frightful speed on this album with tracks like “Valley of the Cursed”, and “In Silence We Reign” still bringing up the rear with heated melodies and intense instrumental skillfulness. Coming up from behind, “Eclipse” carries in with a mind-blowing drum solo that falls into the back beat of the track but, still commands attention, as expected with Duval Gabraiel’s skills.
To follow, “Lost in a Soul” winds the album down and out with a slower melody, bringing forth an ethereal sense of tranquility before once more dropping you into the battlefield. Shrill war cries and ear-piercing shreds lead you into wails and cries that close out this album with perfection; letting the sheer speed of it burn into your mind until you’re ready to listen again and again.
Each track holds a runtime between 4-5 minutes in length that allows listeners to not only be captivated by each track, individually but, to fall in love with them as well. This album is slightly elusive, forcing repeated playthroughs so you can either pinpoint your favourite song, or find out you enjoy the album in its entirety, which, quite frankly, isn’t hard to do.
Release Date: October 15th, 2021
2. To Kill or to Crave
3. What Sleeps in Your Mind
5. Worship Your Path
6. Hopeless Abandonment
7. Valley of the Cursed
8. In Silence We Reign
10. Lost in a Soul