LO-PAN (Salvador) LP/CD

With their new record 'Salvador', LO-PAN getting closer to the perfect album; it's a big step up from the band's previous release 'Sasquanaut' and that was already a great album. The songs on 'Salvador' are all significantly less sonorous and more direct than their work on 'Sasquanaut'. Jeff Martin's voice gives me goosebumps. He manages to infuse the music with a lot of emotion, stripped of kitsch and false pathos and ranging from anger to sadness. J. Bartz's percussion lines provide powerful punctuation to Brian Fristoe's amazing guitar riffs and Skot Thompson's flowing bass lines make sure that there's always the right punch.

What I also like very much is that LO-PAN don't try to reanimate the 1970s. I think that 'Salvador' is a perfect example for modern hardrock. In this context, modern does not mean trendy but rather that LO-PAN have more ideas than trying to ape their musical heroes from the past. There is definitely no filler on this album. Great care was taken with respect to the placement of the tracks, so as they could fluctuate the listener's mood as much as possible. If you can't listen to the album all the way through, then you are missing the essence of the album itself. The music is cerebral and spiritual, and concentrates more on mood and emotion rather than just simply pummeling your brains out of your ears.

On the other hand, 'Salvador' works on so many levels it's simply insane. You can play your air guitar but you can also sit down and think about life while listening to the eleven songs of 'Salvador'. Furthermore it's an album that one can listen to for years and still discover new treasures here and there. To be honest, the songs burn in my long term memory and I'm still able to recall them without listening to the record. That's a good sign for me. All this is complemented by Benny Grotto's masterful production which is thick and heavy and doesn't leave any wishes unfulfilled. 'Salvador' is truly a beautiful work and one of my favourite Small Stone releases in 2011. Highly recommended!