Lake of Tears - Black Brick Road
Lake of Tears has truly covered all the bases here. "The Greymen" has this addiction synth rhythm that recalls the insanely playful "Devil's Diner", "Dystopia" has all the eerie rambunctious feel of "Demon You (Lily Anne)", "The Organ" is solemn and depressing and teems with exactly that which the title suggests, "A Trip With the Moon" is like a graveyard narration in the creepiness of the darkened midnight hour, "Crazyman" lands a crushing heavy blow and thrashes around with wild abandon like Angel Dust's oldies, every song is indeed teeming with that LOT stamp of gothic metal scaring the daylights out of progressive, just to catch the ghostly essence of it and then running the result over a melancholy doom album with a handful of catchy choruses sprinkled about just for good measure. They can summon a bout of depression with the strike of a few chords and the lonely throaty voice of Daniel Brennare who sounds gruff and abandoned, and who is also left responsible for the guitar, which resonates with the same mirrored emotions as the vocals themselves. Then they turn around on the next track and plaster you right on your ass with some little infecting trick thrown into the mix and a bouncy riff that keeps you moving til the next song dawns.

That's Lake of Tears, and they have been doing this formula on and off for three albums now, the trippy and instant classic "A Crimson Cosmos", the down and depressed masterpiece "Forever Autumn", and supposedly the LOT swan song, the colorful more electro charged and commericial friendly, "The Neonai". "Black Brick Road" is not as accessible as "Neonai" nor as mellowed as "Forever Autumn" and rather leans heavily on "A Crimson Cosmos" and sneaks in a bit of their even previous past, back when they were just another faceless thrash type band wandering around the back alleys with no sound to call their own. "Headstones" and the even earlier "Greater Art" from a decade gone by, were fledgling beginnings showing spark and some fire but yet were nothing compared with the future to come.

"Black Brick's" embracement of the past heaviness may make those weaned on the more subdued, chilled version of LOT be skeptical when faced with moments that are frankly, quite heavier than anything we've heard in the past several years from the band. That and "Sister Sinister" which 'features' a female singer that sounds dreadfully like an Alanis Morisette-wannabe. She has a gruff goth-chick smoker's voice that is quite aggravating. A little soothing "Rainy Day Away" that leeches the lethargic lifeblood of "Forever Autumn" will bring you back to the fold however and make you forget that horrible moment trapped in U.S. rock radio hell. Or perhaps "Making Evenings" will cause you to wallow in the delightful pit of hopelessness, with its harsh opening and laid back trance-like state it slips into afterwards, the acoustic clanging along as the heavy distorted electric guitars plod as if dragged along by the chains of the song.

There's tons of keyboards to be found here, and no not the 80s twirly swirl AOR kind either. These keys mean business, whether it's the retro roar of a Hammond organ or some of the strange otherworldly bits that caress the soundscape on "The Greymen", the band continues to serve up surprises and command the listener's attention with the strange yet beautiful. Also the guitars are more in the forefront this time around, with deep, dark mined riffs and solos peering through with a menacing quality, rather than creeping hesitantly through the cracks as before.

With the exception of "Sister Sinister", which admittedly sounds primed for radio play, every song leaves its mark and some twist into the head after just a scant few notes. It is a shame they scarred the disc with this one tune, but it can be forgiven for one misstep when all else is created with such a masterful touch. Also of note are the lyrics, which are haunting and seem well thought out even if they may simply be just drug addled nonsense as one reviewer claimed years back when trying to describe "Raistlin and the Rose" which was in fact, an in-depth look at the black mage's fascination with his potential love interest from the Dragonlance books. Poetic and poignant the words laid across with the intricacy of a spider's web flesh out the atmosphere almost as richly as the music itself.

But it's good to hear them back, and hopefully here to stay for good. Rumors of the band splitting apart after the recording of "The Neonai" was terribly depressing, as Lake of Tears counts as one of my favorite outfits prowling the music scene currently, due to their wonderous originality and resistance to being pigeonholed which has not been futile so far thankfully. "Black Brick Road" is yet another stepping stone in their rich history, and while not as perfect as gems from the past, is a welcome return to the scene with their familiar freshness.

Written by Alanna
Friday, October 15, 2004
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Comment by Alice (Anonymous) - Monday, October 18, 2004
Great review!

Comment by Steen (Staff) - Wednesday, October 20, 2004
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Comments: 518
I agree, this is a really fantastic and very satisfying album. The atmosphere that pervades the whole thing is something only Lake of Tears are able to conjure up.
Songs like "Rainy day away" and "The organ" reach inside and tug strongly on your sadness chain. "A trip with the moon" is just one example of Daniel's expressive and incredibly emotional vocals. The album has a freshness and a sense of mystique that keeps me coming back to it constantly. It is one of those albums that makes you feel something.

Posted by Steen (Staff)
Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Review by Alanna

Released by
Noise Records - 2004

1. The Greymen
2. Making Evenings
3. Black Brick Road
4. Dystopia
5. The Organ
6. A Trip With the Moon
7. Sister Sinister
8. Rainy Day Away
9. Crazyman

Supplied by Atenzia

Goth/Doom Heavy Metal

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