Artist: Lion’s Law
Album: The Pain, the Blood and the Sword
Release Date: 24th of April, 2020
Released via HFMN Crew, Contra Records, CoreTex Records (and many more)
Cover Artwork © HFMN
Since their first release „Watch’em Die“ in 2013, Lion’s Law quickly managed to become one of the most important Oi! bands of our time and you would have to live your skinhead-life under a rock in order to bypass one of their energetic life shows or additional releases, which received positive feedback throughout the whole scene. It is therefore no wonder that their new album “The Pain, the Bloood and the Sword” was one of the most anticipated releases of 2020. To cut this short, the boys did deliver, but if you want to know why, hang on for an in-depth review of their latest release.
For the first time ever, a Lion’s Law release greets us with an Intro which is fairly long, but as versatile as the album itself. It therefore serves as an appropriate introduction to this new piece of musical output. The Intro is followed by “PBS”, which is justifiably the title track to this album, as it sums up what the whole LP is about. “PBS” introduces the listener to a darkened, medieval and somewhat dystopian setting (created by the use of strong metaphorical language), in which humankind seeks to survive. This theme shall remain throughout the whole album. In “PBS”, the main vocals are
way “harder” than the majority of familiar Lion’s Law songs, a refreshing change that has firstly been introduced with “Get it all”, one of two songs on their latest EP called Cut the Rope.
“The Reaper”, although featuring “harder” main vocals, too, can be considered as a typical Lion’s Law song with dominant bass lines (which I absolutely love) and a catchy refrain. It was the second single of the album and came with an animated Videoclip which has been published on Youtube. The clip features animated photos and drawings of the French military after its reformation
at the very beginning of the French Revolution and therefore serves as another example of Lion’s Law’s cultural awareness and their urge to remember the heroes of their country (as already heard in “La Fayette” and “1789”). Although I wasn’t able to identify every single scene, the most iconic photo in the clip is a photograph of soldiers of the 114th French infantry regiment and French soldiers fighting in Verdun, both during World War I.
“Destin Criminel” is the first song of the album which is sung in French. It pretty much describes the life of an unknown protagonist who is doomed to live an unlawful life since society won’t support him. It reminds me a lot of songs of the late 70s / early 80s, which dealt with social exclusion and that
it inevitably led to violence and crime (e.g. “Violence in our minds” – Last Resort). The fact that the band decided to make “Destin Criminel” a French song might point at grievances in the French (social) system.
“Escape” is the album’s first single and that is probably for a reason, as it is (in my humble opinion) the most “typical” Lion’s Law song of the album. It picks up the already introduced dystopian tone of the LP and combines it with the defiant attitude which is typical for a lot of LL’s songs. I especially liked the “running from the tempest…” part, sung with high-pitched voices. Again, a
Talking about refreshments, the most astonishing song on The Pain, the Blood and the Sword is definitely “Roses and Fire”, which after a little over a minute introduces an awesome two-step part, which fits surprisingly well not only to the song but to the whole album. As if that wasn’t enough, a super pissed Scott Vogel comes along to finish this masterpiece off. In their seventh song, Lion’s Law went full Hardcore, and they saw that it was good!
My favorite song of the album is, to my own surprise, one of the French songs, “Fidele”, which deals with the ideals of the French Revolution and urges to remain faithful to them. It is striking how the boys manage to transport both the fierce and heroic tone of this song even to their non-French speaking audience and I couldn’t help but admire the metaphorical language which transports the message (once I looked it up). The refrain loosely translates to “The way to the castle opens up for you ‘cause faithful you will remain; faithful to those who will always be faithful to blood which is shed and is drained”.
The last two songs I want to talk about in this review are “Damaged Heart” and “Destined to Fall”. The prior one being of particular interest because, once again, it brings an all new tone to this LP. While fundamentally taking up topics like despair and hopelessness, the message of this song is a positive one (“make your way up, ‘til you can’t go back”), transported in a way that reminds me of Positive Hardcore bands like H20. Again, this break in style doesn’t hurt at all! “Destined to Fall”, on the other hand, seems a great opportunity to end with, as (after using metaphorical language throughout the whole album and even in the song itself) it suddenly gets more explicit and subcultural allusions take over. All of a sudden, and after 13 tracks established a hopeless, medieval dystopia, the fog of war slowly vanishes, allowing a glance at those still alive on the battlefield, all of them laced up. The battle has been fought, Skinheads prevail!
9 / 10
“Roses and Fire”
As usual, we added the favorite track(s) to our Transcended Review Playlist 2020.