"Chapter III" (XOFF Records; 2021)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Lost Symphony belts it out of the park with the epic instrumental release, "Chapter III." Packed with metal goodness and infused with classical music styles (and instruments), "Chapter III" tells a story all of its own, with sweeping soundscapes that ring bright with guitar solos, powerful progressive rock and a bigger-than-life sound. And it's amazing how classic instruments like violins are merged with rock'n'roll here with a near perfect balance.

Now, I know instrumental albums aren't for everyone and I get that. Some of us like our hard rock/heavy metal with the vocals to back it up and, for the most part, I'm with you there. But it feels wrong to call "Chapter III" simply an instrumental record. There's so much talent to be found here (I've listed all of the players below) and so much utterly jaw-dropping musicianship (especially guitar) that the album stands on its own. I think anyone who starts listening to Track 1 will be held in place until the final track ends.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must add that—as many readers may know—I am a big fan of film scores. I probably listen to them as much as I listen to hard rock, heavy metal and punk (okay, that's a lie, but you get my drift). Although "Chapter III" probably rocks too hard to be a film score, there are moments that remind me of just that. Each track tells a story of imagination and you can let it take you where it will.

Of particular note is Track #4, "Decomposing Composers," which is a progressive rock re-telling of legendary classical composers of the past. What's interesting about this track is that it reminds me a lot of the work done by The Great Kat, who's expertly delivered her own heavy metal versions of classical music throughout the year. There are a lot of truly impressive guests on "Chapter III," and I'm simply suggesting that maybe The Great Kat should get an invite for "Chapter IV."

Lost Symphony: Benny Goodman - keyboards, guitars; Brian Goodman - keyboards, programming; Kelly Kereliuk - guitars; Cory Paza - bass, guitars; Paul Lourenco - drums; Siobhan Cronin - strings.

Special guests (appearing scattered throughout the album): David Ellefson, Jimi Bell, Marty Friedman, Matt LaPierre, Joey Concepcion, Alex Skolnick, Angel Vivaldi, Richard Shaw, Jeff Loomis, Nuno Bettencourt, Oli Herbert, Ryan Formatto.

For more information, check out https://lostsymphony.com/.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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