Lake of Tears – Illwill (AFM Records)

Friday, 22nd March 2013
Rating: 8/10

Gotta be the album cover of the year, eh? Seriously…that’s a stark image, which makes sense – Lake of Tears aren’t about to start singing about sunshine and lollipops. On Illwill, the Swedes dole out another eerie, but hard-rocking platter of metal-infused Goth metal that is laced with dark subject matter, but is as hooky as they come.

Like 2007’s vastly underrated Moons and Mushrooms, LOT is relying heavily on riffs, wisely staying away from the electronic-based sound they were so enamored with around the dawn of the 00’s. From the get-go, opener “Floating In Darkness” surges with a Paradise Lost circa-1995 intensity, save for the fact singer Daniel Brennare’s vocals have always been something of an acquired taste (unlike PL‘s Nick Holmes), as evidenced by his funky enunciations during the chorus. Nevermind that – the man is instantly indefinable, and turns in his fair share of catchy moments on “The Hating” and “Out of Control.”

The band’s true Goth side rears its head on “Behind the Green Door,” which wisely breaks up the flow of the album’s otherwise aggressive pulse. Additional highlights include the toe-tapping title track (Brennare again, is the star), the Motorhead-like “Parasites” and “Taste Like Hell,” a song that boasts perhaps the most sing-a-long worthy chorus of the lot.

Four years in between studio releases did little to dull the Lake of Tears blade –Illwill is a razor-sharp album, loaded with smart, easy, and catchy Goth metal songs with a distinct edge. Hard to resist a bunch of these songs…they stick like one’s shoe to a sun-baked roof on a summer day.

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