Canada’s Lutharo follow a well-trodden path on new album Chasing Euphoria, but they follow it with such wild-eyed verve and enthusiasm as to render any ‘heard it all before’ criticisms pointless and wilting under the band’s sheer will and firepower.

Having a vocalist of the ability of Krista Shipperbottom is never going to hold a band back; Sensibly the band, in tandem with a nice studio job by drummer Cory Hofing, push the vocalist to the front where she shoulders the brunt of the heavy lifting via the gift of a leave-nothing-in-the-tank performance style on tracks like the soaring melodeath assault of Paradise or Parasite. Even on the album’s less worthwhile material – Time To Rise, for instance – the Shipperbottom factor adds real grit to songs which might otherwise just slink off into the long grass to die.

It’s not all about the vocals – as noted, the production here is of a very high quality, and the twin axes of Victor Bucur and John Raposo scream out of the speakers in enticing fashion, their harmony work adding an appealing old-school tang to the decidedly modern overall outlook.

As a group, the band knows how to work up a song for maximum impact and effect; Melodies erupt from unexpected angles, even in the heaviest moments, and a few epic key changes also add to the sense of grandeur, leaving the listener with no other alternative than to come to the conclusion that Lutharo might well have it in them to create something very special indeed in the not too distant future. As the established leaders in this field, Arch Enemy, fade as providers of real, knee-trembling, neck-damaging, sweat-inducing excitement, there may soon be an opening in the higher ranks of the melodeath pantheon. Don’t be surprised if it’s filled by these guys…

Chasing Euphoria releases on March 15th.