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(59:19, MALS Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. At the Dawn of the World 9:18 2. The Golden Age 15:05 3. Jerica 4:45 4. At the Verge of Epochs 21:27 5. Thus the Ensign Fell 8:37 LINEUP: Anton Telkov – string instruments; percussion Alexander Kaminsky – guitars; vocals Dmitrij Miroshnichenko – bass Alina Bulat – vocals
Prolusion. The Russian band LANTINOR was formed back in 1992 and recorded one album back then before folding. Band leader Alexander Kaminsky decided to continue using the band however, and various constellations of Lantinor have released a fair few albums over the years. "Ensign of Fairies: Book 1" is their eighth full length album, issued through MALS Records in 2013.
Analysis. Lantinor seems to be one of those bands that have toiled away for a good number of years without managing to reach out beyond a core audience. With a 20 year-long history yet with few traces of their previous productions mentioned beyond a limited set of Russian based webpages that would at least appear to be the case. And of "Ensign of Fairies: Book 1" is anything to go by, we may have missed out on something worthwhile there. The band's general style appears to be cemented in a retro-oriented variety of hard rock utilized within a progressive rock oriented framework. Lots of variety, plenty of alterations in pace, intensity as well as stylistic expression are key words to describe this album. Those fluent in Russian will probably find some joy in the conceptual story too, at least those with an interest in fantasy based excursions of this kind. In its most dramatic movements, Lantinor reminds me slightly of old Iron Maiden. Intense themes with galloping bass guitars and guitar riffs have a field day, but are performed in a somewhat more subtle manner referencing 70's hard rock rather than 80's heavy metal. On other occasions pace and intensity are lowered, and acoustic guitars combined with gentler dark toned riffs result in a sound fairly close to good, old Jethro Tull. The occasional string textures supplementing the otherwise dominant guitars are a nice touch in these instances as well as when Lantinor heads out to more hard rock oriented escapades with compact, staccato guitar riffs taking center stage. A final variety of their style is a gentler one again, featuring undistorted or acoustic guitars as the lead instrument, performed in a manner that reminds me slightly of 70's Rush in their gentler moments, the aforementioned hard rock oriented sequences also with some familiar sounding traces in that direction. Lantinor manages to combine these features in a nice and logical manner, supplementing further with occasional dips into funk and jazz rock for instrument details. With effective, calm lead vocals for the vocal parts the overall impression remains a good and solid one throughout. A nice detail recurring throughout also worth mentioning is smooth, brief guitar solos of the kind that makes me think of classic progressive rock bands from the 70's. Soft, atmospheric details that add a distinct mood to the proceedings when utilized. Also worth mentioning are frequent use of guitar textures that appear to have more of a folk rock inspired sound, and not limited towards aforementioned giants Jethro Tull in similarity when it comes to that.
Conclusion. Lantinor comes across as a well defined and developed band, safe and assured in the music they create and perform. 70's progressive rock of the somewhat harder edged variety, liberally coated with subtly folk music inspired details, appears to be the main forte of this band, and should be worth an inspection by those who enjoy the music bands like Rush and Jethro Tull made some 35 odd years ago.
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