July 3, 2024

Lodestar is a two piece band hailing from Canada, crafting immersive Doom/Gothic Metal since their inception in 2020 amidst the pandemic’s chaos. Fronted by the captivating Kate Glock, whose haunting vocals and ethereal synth work lead listeners on a soaring journey through darkened realms; and co-created by Jensen Rodolfo who transitions between guitar, bass and drums to inject a trademark meatily fuzzed vibe.

Kate and Jensen are – Lodestar

Polaris is the third and latest album by Lodestar, and compared to their two previous creations the album seeks to touch on the lighter side of life. That said, their music still marries the brooding essence of Doom Metal with the evocative allure of Gothic Metal, the result being both heavy and melodic.

Their self-titled debut album came out in the summer of 2021 and was followed in 2022 by Event Horizon which was critically acclaimed and amassed over 37,000 YouTube views, captivating a growing fanbase. With this latest creation, inspired by the guiding light of a lodestar, the band want their music to serve as a beacon of hope and resilience, offering solace to weary souls seeking direction. The video below of Blackbird, a stand-alone cover of the Alter Bridge track, gives a good flavour of the vibe they seek to create (and it’s a great version of a great track!)

On Polaris, people can expect to hear a more hard rock influenced style while still retaining their previous Doom/Gothic metal sound. They’ve added synth and orchestral elements to fatten the sound, creating an uplifting and empowering vibe in both the music and the vocal/lyrical themes. The song-set opens with Shooting Star, immediately drawing comparisons with the Italian band Walk In Darkness in the mix of dense metal chords and soaring vocals. A promising start!

Never Die continues the blend of dense layers of guitar and synth chords, a hint of techno bubbling underneath, and Kate’s vocals swooping overhead. It’s good but a worry begins to creep in with the entrance of Save Me From Fate in that the duo might be a but limited in their range of mood and mix? I like the song and their creative input but prey that a degree of variety emerges, otherwise this could become fairly repetitive….

Fear Not! – In This Life takes the foot off the fuzz pedal and allows a cleaner more melodic guitar line to front. Some chunky chords underpin the chorus but that’s fine and reinforces the comparisons with Walk In Darkness – on tracks like this Lodestar hold their own, and the influence of Alter Bridge and others of their ilk shine through. I love this track!

In Your Shadow does tend to drift back into the same furrow they’ve ploughed before – it’s okay but reveals the difficulty a duo has of creating a sound that is “fat” but also enables all the instruments to fade or come to the fore, allowing an mixing interplay that perhaps gets lost when just two musicians are at work? They’re by no means alone in this, without a fully-fledged band it’s obviously harder to inject genuine variety across a song-set – tracks are fine on their own but nearly an hour’s worth is a different story…

Distance to Your Light illustrates that perfectly (no pun intended!) the tune and vocals are great, but the guitar chords follow exactly the same tone and pitch as most of its predecessors, one could be forgiven for almost imagining the chords being generated artificially on a keyboard. Sorry, but there it is, and War of The Mind offers no respite…Light of My Life is a quite a lot better, giving glimpses of what these two can achieve when playing “outside the fuzz-Metal box”?

World of Change is the penultimate track in this collection, a bit of an epic at just over ten minutes long, and I’m afraid that for me, it drags, there’s a kind of wet blanket of the same fuzz-metal chords submerging a potentially very good band in here – I want to see them break out! The album’s title track brings the album to a close, it’s nicely melodic, and I genuinely like Kate’s voice. I do think the pair could do with garnering a “full-time” drummer and bass-player, it would free up Jensen to be more creative and imaginative in his guitar playing – you’ve only got to listen to his playing on the (very good) Blackbird video to appreciate the man’s talents, because they are somewhat hidden on this album….

I’m sorry to sound negative but listening to this as a full album is pretty hard work and I genuinely think the duo could do so much better within a “proper” band, it would allow them the space to be so much more creative – Kate is clearly a wonderful vocalist, and Jensen a much more talented guitarist than this album suggests? You have only to listen to Blackbird to appreciate that….go for it!

The title track