Lake of Tears – Ominous (AFM Records)

Monday, 1st March 2021
Rating: 8.5/10

After a decade-long absence from the studio, Lake of Tears returns as essentially Daniel Brennare as songwriter and main performer (gaining assistance from drummer Christian Silver and bassist/guitarist Vesa Kenttäkumpu) for Ominous. Taking his time to become proficient at specific tones and sounds through home recording technology allows these nine tracks to possess an inherent depth, exploring even more post-metal/gothic rock textures that move the material far away from the 90’s doom/gothic metal records the band began their career with. Living within a storyline also adds a haunting personal journey that plays out to a satisfying conclusion, probably very relatable to those who often turn to music as catharsis.

Daniel as a singer has a soft spoken, deliberate manner to his melodies, matching often the simpler chord progressions that build outward for intensity and dynamic push and pull effect. Check out his work for “In Wait and in Worries” as the acoustic and electric blending gives off 70’s Pink Floyd vibrations, while the steady, slow drumming and calm clean picking that opens the follow-up “Lost in a Moment” mirrors a heart beating intensely, before the blackened tremolo picking and emotive background choir voices cascade like thunder in the distance. There are songs that still remind the listener that Lake of Tears can perform in a heavy, driving metal platform – “Ominous One” and “The End of This World” penetrating through the mix, the latter featuring more tempo/feel juggling as Daniel’s tremolo picking works brilliantly against the doom-laden main drum passage. At this stage in the band’s career, Daniel feels content to satisfy his own vision and creative ambition – incorporating elements that expand horizons beyond the metal language into psychology, mathematics, philosophy, the cosmos, and what the ears, eyes, and brain can process for tones and frequencies.

We don’t know as of yet if Ominous will be the final studio record for Lake of Tears – but if it is, they’ve left us on a high note as far as output. Absorb, reflect, respond to the rhythms of these tracks, the hypnotic and circular qualities will resonate for years if not decades.

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