Published Nov 14, 2014It's an interesting concept, a trilogy of albums regaling listeners with the narrative of Druid Cloak. Long story short: first album Lore: Book One begins with the introduction of Josef Wolff at "Wraithborne Falls" and follows his transformation into the Shadowprince (as told through "Ballad of the Shadowprince"), owner of the Druid Cloak, the same sort of fantasy narrative employed by acts like Coheed and Cambria. It's a relatively short album — eight tracks pushing just over 30 minutes — but Lore: Book One inadvertently succumbs to the fate some albums are wont to fall to: It's hopelessly predictable.
Lore: Book One has a monumental starting point with "Wraithborne Falls," a track that builds on orchestral elements of ominous, deep brass and hectic strings that suddenly give way to a thick, fast beat loaded with stuttered vocals, reworked strings and an unbelievable sense of urgency. With its epic flourishes and notable surprise of stylistic crossover, "Wraithborne Falls" is a strong lead, though subsequent tracks struggle to build on anything that could transform them into more than a static concept. "Ballad of the Shadowprince" follows much the same template as the album opener, an ominous instrumental attempt that simply peters into "Wolff," one of the barest tracks on Lore: Book One, with a brief interlude that explores warm synths and percussion before rolling to a quiet close. Though the album has potential, it lacks the momentum to sustain the narrative of Druid Cloak. (Apothecary Compositions)