The new album «Lions Among Men», fourth in a career that has seen the band perform throughout their whole country, as well as occasionally playing abroad, follows 2008’s critically acclaimed «The Noble Search». In its essence, this material represents the ultimate stride forward in the path treaded by THE FIRSTBORN since the band’s inception in the mid-nineties. Focusing on refinement and evolution, instead of the metamorphosis that characterised the transition between each previous album, «Lions Among Men» elevates the band to a higher level, in intensity, atmosphere and songwriting – they managed to compose an album that is a complete experience and in which all the elements fall into place. Bruno Fernandes explores his vocal chords’ full amplitude, showcasing an incredible versatility and revealing an immense ability to interpret, with ease, different approaches and, especially, diverse mindsets and moods. Nuno Gervásio and Filipe Lima penned outstanding guitar work, both incisive and direct, and experimental when called for. As for the rhythm section, Hélder Malícia on bass and Rolando Barros on drums show a decisive pulse, grooving and adapting to the songs with impressive elasticity, comfortably moving between slow, dense, percussive patterns and thunderous mid-tempos, thus building the foundations of a rhythmically vigorous, explosive album. Once again, Luís Simões shows us he is much more than a guest musician, playing a decisive role in the attainment of sonic Nirvana with his Sitar, synth, percussion and sampling. «Lions Among Men» sounds huge, organic, believable and in keeping with the band’s principles and a very personal idea of the significance of Art in times such as these.
Following the Buddhist concept the band embraced and developed in the two previous albums, they now delved even deeper in this truly surprising philosophy – focusing, this turn around, on the Mahayana school of thought – which in turn makes the lyrical content the spark that ignites the song writing process. That which distinguishes THE FIRSTBORN from so many other bands writing conceptually-based music is the apparent ease with which they perfectly balance the musical and poetic sides. The hooks are there, holding the story together. Without ever sacrificing one component for another, the six-piece wrote seven songs which capture the listener’s attention from the first to the last of the 55 minutes of the album’s length. After the experience on «The Noble Search» with Chris Fielding and Bob Weston – of Primordial and Shellac fame, respectively - «Lions Among Men» was integrally recorded in their native Portugal, at one of the finest recording facilities in the country. MDL Studios were the backdrop to an intense process over the span of six months, an incessant quest for perfection for both the band and the album’s sound engineer, André Tavares. Later mastered by Collin Jordan at Chicago’s Boiler Room Mastering, the album resulted in a sonic voyage of abandonment and detachment from the material world. Dense, introspective, ritualistic and hypnotic at times, THE FIRSTBORN produce challenging music for the thoughtful, attentive listener.
Edited by Anasazi on 18 Mar 2012, 00:35
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