June 26th, 2014

“‘Lost’ marks the departure of Lapis Lazuli’s third vocalist Frida Eurenius and welcomes in their new vocalist Cecilia Kamf. As for the Swedish Symphonic Power Metal outfit, Lapis Lazuli have not lost their trademark sound, that is their tasty mix of angelic vocals, cascading and ascending symphonies, smooth riffs and dramatic atmospherics. It could actually be said that Cecilia Kamf has vocals of the Tarja Turunen guild, that swan-like elegance in her voice caressing each note produced by her fellow band-members. This could be Lapis Lazuli’s time to make a stand and go for a label deal, because this material certainly warrants a contract.

Download This: “Forgive, Never Forget”

For Fans of: Therion, Within Temptation, Tarja-era Nightwish



February 9th, 2014

“After a year of aridity and tiredness I’ve decided to start writing again, and what better to start with than writing about Lapis Lazuli? This record does not feature Frida (Eurenius) on vocals, no no: this time they’ve managed to engage a talent named Cecilia Kamf.

To make it very simple: Frida was good, but this is a bloody punch in the face that will throw you completely off stride, why this is their fourth full length album without being signed is beyond me.

I have listened through the album many times by now and I still can’t find anything wrong with it, so why keep looking for faults? Cecilia Kamf is brilliant with her opera voice, and the rest of the production is, as always when it comes to Lapis Lazuli, glorious.

This is, simply put, magnificent.”

The original review in swedish can be found here: http://swedenmetal.nu/recension/lapis-lazuli-lost/

September 2nd, 2013

“From the opening “Overture” to “My Last Story”, Lost is one musical journey you will not mind finding your ears surrounded within. Swedish metal rockers Lapis Lazuli, who were formerly known as Aftermath, consider themselves a “symphonic metal orchestra”, which is wonderfully demonstrated on Lost. Cecilia Kamf’s powerful soprano vocals are comparable to some of the leaders in the genre. Hearing her vocals is worth the price of admission alone. However, Lapis Lazuli is blessed with orchestrated keyboards from Timo Hautamäki, who also performs lead male vocals. Deep and warm bass is performed by Sandra Wallo. Tobias Rhodin does all the excellent lead electric guitar work, and Jocke Ivarsson pounds home the solid drums.  Lost is the band’s fourth full length album.

The first things you will hear on Lost are the hammering drums of Ivarsson, which for me brought back memories of Carl Palmer on ELP’s “Mars Bringer of War”. Not a bad start at all. That was my favorite track on Emerson, Lake and Powell, and the “Overture” on this album, is also one of my favorites. Unfortunately it only lasts a little under 2 minutes. It is also full of grandiose keys and enough orchestration to fill an auditorium.

From there, your ears are surrounded with the soft soprano of Cecilia Kamf wading through a forest of orchestration, power drums and finger bleeding guitar. The bass that fills the soundscape does so with phantom depths. The soundscape is full of wondrous orchestration that would make any female metal fan’s ears engaged. “Floating Away”, “Darker Side of Me”, “Forgive, Never Forget”, Entr’acte: Hunted by Shadows”, and “Arise” will make you completely satisfied you chose to purchase this CD.

However, as Jason Bonham’s band says, “sometimes you have to take the good with the bad”. On “No Escape”, the growling male vocals enter the soundscape and do not leave until after “Hollow”. It is part of the story being told, but I shall forever skip through, or re-burn the CD without these tracks included.

The payoff for going through the growl/yell torture is the relief brought on by the wonderful instrumental “Entr’acte: Finding the Way Home”, which is full of brilliant keys. ThenKamf’s wonderful vocals return for “Close the Distance” through “My Last Story”.

Other than the male growls, (which seems to be a new requirement within the genre), perhaps to balance the high female notes, this is an excellent album. “Lost”, the title track, contains some normal male vocals which helped redeem the male vocal presence on the album for me.

Without the male growls this album would have reached higher marks for me. I cannot embellish the unique sound of Cecilia Kamf’s vocals enough. Timo Hautamäki has good male vocals, when he’s not growling or yelling. The story is a good one which I will not divulge the plot nor ending. Overall I would recommend Lapis Lazuli’s Lost.

Rating: 8 /10″

July 19th, 2013

“The recipe was there for them to follow; and Lapis Lazuli put together a mixture that was a smooth as the most carefully baked cake. With the release of 2011’s “A Justified Loss,” keyboardist and band mastermind Timo Hautamäki had found all of the right ingredients for a successful symphonic metal band. but two years have passed, and some things have changed. Gone is vocalist Frida Eurenius, replaced by the soaring operatic style of Cecilia Kamf. Bassist Henrik Nyman, involved for years with the band, moves on, as Sandra Wallo joins the fold. When the vision of the band is in the eyes of one member, lineup changes often have no real effect on sound or structure. But despite Hautamäki still having his hands tightly on the reigns, he couldn’t help but let things evolve in the process. With the release of their new album, “Lost,” you find a band that might not have given up on their direction, but one that is certainly looking for a little lateral movement.

There are no surprises in the opening track, simply titled “Overture.” This is Hautamäki at his best, creating beautiful and vast soundscapes with strings and keys. He makes it all seem so easy, putting together orchestral melodies full of blaring horns at the touch of his fingertips. The biggest challenge, though, seems to be finding the delicate balance when the full band joins the fray. On “Floating Away,” the symphonic presence buries the guitars often, almost to the point of nonexistence in the chorus. Shining through it all, new vocalist Cecilia Kamf soars into the higher register in her beautiful operatic tone, a change from previous efforts. The lack of instrumental balance, however, doesn’t do her any favors. Those troubles seem to be fleeting, luckily; the serene piano keys that open “Darker Shade Of Me” signal a change in the album, albeit an early one. Hautamäki finds his groove, adding both layers of string tones and airy synths. The guitars start to break through, along with drum beats that while strong, lack flare. It remains a two man show for the most part, with Kamf fronting the orchestra brilliantly. Much like the earlier albums, there is a similarity between Lapis Lazuli and other female fronted bands, with songs like “Forgive, Never Forget” carrying a lot of the Within Temptation feel, with a slightly more diverse vocal. By no means is this a slight, as they execute it with a great deal of care. In fact, thanks to the chorus of voices, it stands out from the album.

After the short interlude, “Entr’acte: Hunted By Shadows,” the band returns in full force. There are moments in “Arise” that sound like a band at the top of their game, but the luster is dulled by production work that simply doesn’t do the composition justice. Guitarist Tobias Rhodin does see the light of day here, with a pretty driving melody, but his arrival comes at the same time as the drums fall flat. the click of the snare drum doesn’t exude any power, leaving Kamf to deliver twisting and fluttering streams of lyrics without a net. It looks like the sign of a bigger problem of balance. And when the male growls fill the entirety of “No Escape,” you’ve made a sideways leap to something completely unexpected. This is not to say the growls don’t work; they actually hold their own quite well. But in a track that finally has its musical balance, the only thing missing is that bit of contrast between beauty and beast. Hautamäki’s voice is devastating, and ignites a fire in the surrounding instrumental. It does carry over into “Hollow,” which sees the two vocal styles, both harsh and soft, come together in a fractured harmony. The track stands as the most accessible on the album, which is for the better, but it might also be the most pleasing for dedicated listeners. It shows off the versatility, the ability to be more things to more people. The refresher track, “Entr’acte: Finding the Way Home,” may start solemn, but ends with a thumping dance beat.

With horns blasting through, “Close The Distance” begins as the symphonic masterpiece you’ve been waiting for. Kamf has now reached her best work, her voice now flying high above the rest of the mix, even if her lyrical content doesn’t match the brilliance of her voice itself. But if you’re looking for one thirty second clip that might bring new fans to the party, the three minute mark might be exactly that. Chugging guitars, ethereal vocals, and subtle, if not delicate keyboards. For a track that is under three minutes in length, the title track does wonders for the scope of the album. There is a simplicity here, but one that can be fully appreciated. The layers of vocals in the chorus back her aptly, and help to advance the now growing sound. It seems like a bizarre twist for an album to gain so much steam by the end, but when you reach “Illusions,” you get the feeling that the best has taken twelve tracks to find you. Hautamäki’s clean vocal is perfect for this moment, showing off the range that many had forgotten he had. He pushes himself to his boundaries, engaging in a tradeoff with Kamf, an inspired performance for both. They’ve truly saved the best for last, as “My Last Story” is everything you’d expect all along. It combines the heavy guitar riffs that had been so carelessly buried earlier with that strong symphonic element. It’s as if the album was a tug of war, and it took the entire record to find peace.

There is something unique about this album that needs to be mentioned. Very rarely do you see a large concentration of strong tracks at the end of an album; they are either crammed to the front end, or scattered throughout. Lapis Lazuli push that heavy rock up the hill for nearly an hour before they reach the apex. For better or worse, the album is simply stacked towards the end. The problem this creates is one that the listener must solve on their own. There are moments of brilliance to be found on the disc, and some where a slight turn of the screws (or knobs) could turn mediocre into monumental. For their part, they’ve succeeded far more than they’ve failed, which is a victory in and of itself. But with the vocalist changing from album to album, it makes it difficult to dig your feet in and push for tyhat next level. With her performance on “Lost,” one would hope Cecilia Kamf has earned herself an encore performance. And with some careful planning and technical improvements, the follow up might get them where they want to go.


June 25th, 2013

“Lapis Lazuli hail from Sweden, and with this their latest release, they offer up a rather nice healthy dosage of Symphonic Metal, not too far away from Tarja era Nightwish, although perhaps not as bombastic. Now fronted by Cecilia Kamf after the departure of Frida Eurenius in January, we have 13 rather tasty numbers here to sink your teeth into. My only gripe is the track ‘No Escape’ that features male growls and nothing but male growls. There is nothing wrong with that, but it just seems a little out of place on this release. Anyway, there are a host of corking Symphonic tunes here including the openers ‘Overture’ and ‘Floating Away’, the 7 minute plus and one of my faves ‘Darker Shade Of Me’, the catchy ‘Forgive, Never Forget’, and ‘Illusions’ with vocal duties on this number shared with keys man and founder member Timo Hautamäki I believe. Overall, this is a good release from the Swedes, and to be perfectly frank, I am surprised that they have not as yet caught the attention of a bigger label. And just as a footnote, while writing this review, I am in-fact chatting to ex vocalist Frida on Facebook about the weather and other not so musical themes, plus her new EP due this coming winter 🙂 – I digress however, ‘Lost’ by the way is recommended…

8.5/10 (Dave)”