Monday, May 02, 2011

Lake of Tears: Illwill (2011)


I've been a big fan of Swedish gothic metallers Lake of Tears for some time, having all their albums save one. Their 8th full-length saw digital release last week.

IllwillIf you're not familiar with the band, they have an unusual take on the ill-defined gothic metal subgenre. This is as far as it gets from your pretty, symphonic Nightwish and their clones. It's progressive and psychedelic, both of which set them apart from peers like Moonspell, but it's also surprisingly upbeat (especially given their name). Clean production lets you hear all the instruments well, but doesn't sound sterile. And those vocals. Plus, the songs are catchy as the plague.

If you are familiar with the band, "Behind the Green Door" and "Out of Control" are going to be perfectly in line with expectations, and the title track (with its sing-along bridge) won't disappoint either. They also branch out in several directions. "House of the Setting Sun" is more typical gothic fare, but "Parasites" is Motörhead-esque in its punk simplicity. "The Hating" could be a bid at capturing the groove metal demographic. But the real treats are saved for the end, where the band channels Immortal in adding some serious black metal influence to the last two tracks, without sacrificing heaviness.

My only complaint, then, is the track order. The three best tracks are the three last tracks, while the title track is really the only standout of the first seven. It could lose your interest somewhere around track 4, "U.N.S.A.N.E.", which is honestly a very weak offering.

The Verdict: Lake of Tears won't disappoint fans with this one, but those who aren't already sold on their approach might find it hard to wade through until the end of this. A better starting place would be The Neonai, Black Brick Road, or A Crimson Cosmos. I give Illwill 3.5 out of 5 stars.

1 comment:

  1. Why is this band still around?! Musically they're decent . . . but come on!