Talk about grabbing the brass ring when it comes within striking distance -- Columbus, Ohio's Lo-Pan waste not an ounce of opportunity to impress with their first new album for Small Stone (and third overall), Salvador, which truly brought new hope of "salvation" to the stoner rock masses upon its release in early 2011. Yes, the promising signs were already quite evident on the group's sophomore opus, Sasquanaut (reissued just prior to this third LP), but on Salvador, Lo-Pan achieve a fluid balance of guitar-driven muscle and songwriting immediacy that amazingly leaves its predecessor sounding somewhat unfocused by comparison -- and it was really anything but. Yet such is the power achieved by steel-plated nuggets like "El Dorado," "Deciduous," and "Chichen Itza," groove-driven efforts like "Bleeding Out" and "Generations," and even histrionic slow-burners like the seriously psychedelic "Bird of Prey" and convincingly bluesy "Struck Match," where Lo-Pan's remarkable singer, Jeff Martin, eerily sounds like a reborn Joe Lynn f**king Turner…in the best possible sense. It's ultimately that old-school sensibility and recurring ties to classic rock of the 1970s, wed to a modern sonic power standard, that fuel and freshen Lo-Pan's material to oftentimes alchemical, transcendent thresholds, and should allow them to stand out from the herd in today's crowded heavy rock scene.
by Eduardo Rivadavia