Andrew Depedro Charlton on Sunday

February 12, 2012 at 10:13am

Luthor A Thorn In The Flesh It may have taken close to a quarter of a century if not longer for the Land Down Under to get around to creating if not fully defining its own scene in the genre of traditional power metal but lately it's become a scene that has been catching the attention of many denim and leather-clad followers. Classic Australian bands like Mortal Sin and Black Majesty to name a few seem to appear regularly at many prestigious European festivals such as Wacken and Bang Your Head every year that for many fans these festivals are incomplete without them. And given their growing touring history which has included playing alongside these aforementioned bands Melbourne-based quartet Luthor are poised to take a bold step towards adding their name alongside those of the current contemporaries with their first full-length CD A Thorn In The Flesh. It's an album that wears its musical heart on its sleeve with glowing pride while keeping its lyrical content grounded enough in reality to prevent itself from becoming another musically proficient album with good intentions mired in writer's block.

Opening with "1914" the disc extols images of great battle and even greater victory while also highlighting the suffering and desolation wrought from all armed conflicts over the passage of time - the proverbial thorn of our inhumanity piercing the skin of our civility that we as humans often pride ourselves upon as our difference between other living species. "Beslan" in sharp contrast tells the story of the real-life 2006 hostage drama at a school in the Russian town the song is named after from the perspective of the hostages in detail. Turning to the music itself, Luthor's dual guitar attack courtesy of frontman/guitarist Dean Burgess and lead guitarist Shane Little displays itself in the proper sense on many of the songs on the album but probably moreso on songs like "Cold Death" and "Serpent Deity" which show the strong influence of early Judas Priest and even Blind Guardian in parts. Plus while Dean's toned his impressive vocals down a notch from the band's early days as Skyweaver he's lost none of the vast range that's personified it. He could still reach that falsetto to ridiculous heights if he wanted and needed to but luckily he's resisted that urge to let that opportunity present itself on Thorn and let Luthor's music take root in the listener's mind for all the right reasons.

4/5