Hot off the Press

Lake Of Tears | The Black Sea

by Alexandra Mrozowska
– Columnist —

Lake Of Tears By The Black SeaThe Swedish act Lake Of Tears, active since the mid-‘90s, is labeled anything from ‘Death to Doom to Gothic/Dark metal – and there is no doubt about their sound and specific atmosphere being targeted at a particular, tight circle of rock music listeners. Speaking shortly – your girlfriend might not like them and your grandma perhaps won’t. But if you’re into the somber, somewhat disturbing climate of their songs supported with a crunchy guitar sound music-wise, Lake Of Tears’ latest release – a live album By The Black Sea – may become your concert album of the year. The material for this album was recorded during the group’s gig in Bucharest, Romania in 2013 and is comprised of 16 songs, representative to the different stages in the Lake Of Tears’ collective history.

The first track is the atmospheric instrumental intro “To Die Is To Wake,” featuring some outstanding lead guitar work against the background of muscular, heavy riffs and lumbering, gloomy sound of the rhythm section. The next in the set are: a groovy, dour “Taste Of Hell” and raw, raucous “Illwill” (both from Lake Of Tears’ most recent studio album Illwill, released in 2011). “The Greymen” is one of the earlier tracks (of 2004 album Black Brick Road) – with slightly more emphasis on melody music-wise, what makes it a good choice for the set list.

More highlights? The monumental, sinister metal ballad “Raven Land” (of the band’s 1995 classic Headstones) laden with some tasteful guitar wizardry can certainly be the one. The other particularly outstanding tracks are these released originally on Black Brick Road album: “Making Evenings” with some interesting guitar effects against Daniel Brennare’s rough vocals and fast-paced “Crazyman”. The crowd’s enthusiastic roars and applause towards the end of every song in the set is nothing surprising – a combination of the band’s unique style and quality musicianship results in a performance which is undeniably of high quality.

Additionally, the edition comprised of two discs – CD/DVD set – offers an insight into the visual sphere of the band’s live performance. It stands for both a valuable souvenir for those present at a Bucharest gig a year ago, and a teaser for those who plan to attend Lake Of Tears’ concerts in the future. Included are also two official video clips – “Illwill,” its somber story illustrated with a sophisticated black-and-white film, and the live performance kind of promo to “The House Of The Setting Sun”. There’s also a special treat for those particularly interested in the band itself – a “making-of” footage and an in-depth interview with the band.

With their first-ever live release By The Black Sea, the Swedish dark rock/metal masters Lake Of Tears add more variety to their live performance by revisiting their entire output, from “As Daylight Yields” of their debut album to a bite or two from their most recent effort Illwill. Apart from their flexible approach which makes their concert set balanced and varied, another advantage of the recorded Bucharest gig – and supposedly, the overall balance of their live performances – is the solid musicianship and vivid interaction with the audience. All these combined, By The Black Sea may stand for a flagship of the Swedes – the best of their catalog played live with prowess and fineness. If you’re into death metal-infused, doomy guitar riffs and the atmospheric, somber ballads, it’d be right for you to start your adventure with Lake Of Tears from their concert album. It surely has the potential to make a number of listeners dig a bit deeper into the band’s musical past.

Genre: Dark Rock, Metal, Doom Metal

Daniel Brennare – vocals/guitar
Johan Oudhuis – drums
Fredrik Jordanius – guitar
Mikael Larsson – bass

Track List:
1. To Die Is To Wake
2. Taste Of Hell
3. Illwill
4. The Greymen
5. Boogie Bubble
6. Cosmic Weed
7. As Daylight Yields
8. The Shadowshires
9. Raven Land
10. Sweetwater
11. Demon You / Lily Anne
12. House Of The Setting Sun
13. Making Evenings
14. Crazyman
15. So Fell Autumn Rain
16. Forever Autumn

Label: AFM Records


Hardrock Haven rating: 7/10