Lacrimosa - Echos
Nuclear Blast
Dark Gothic Orchestral Music
8 songs (60'56")
Release year: 2003
Lacrimosa, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Alex

At one of the famous (or is it infamous) Russian parties where everybody was drunk up to their eyeballs the discussion started about Metal. Amorphis Black Winter Day was playing and Tommi Koivusaari was scraping our ears with his sandpaper vocals. Then, one of the attendees (he is rumored to be in jail now) yelled: “OK, this is good, but have you guys listened to Lacrimosa?” I was widely considered the most knowledgeable Metal fan in the group, but much to my embarrassment I haven’t heard anything about this band. Short time thereafter I paid some $15 for Elodia, slipped the disc in and expected some growly beast to devour me in the punishing display of black or death metal. After an 8 min long of what seemed like an overture of a Tchaikovsky opera gothic-pop-electronic song with German lyrics started to play. “What the Hell?” – I thought to myself. “Did I get the right CD?” “Is this even Metal?” The latter question about Lacrimosa is open till this day, but one thing has been surely answered – Elodia is one of the better CDs in my collection. This dark gothic rock opera simply took my breath away.

For those of you who don’t know, Lacrimosa is a creation of a Swiss musician Tilo Wolff. Later on he has been joined by a Finnish female singer Anne Nurmi. In addition to employing a host of session musicians on both traditional metal and classic instruments, Tilo uses a lot of orchestration (Babelsberg Philharmonic from Germany on Echos) and sings his songs mostly in German.

While undoubtedly melodic, atmospheric and haunting, 2001 Fassade was somewhat slumbering. It stirred nowhere near close the whirlwind of emotions Elodia did. Two years later we now have Echos. Let the faithful including myself rejoice! Lacrimosa is back to their epic, orchestral, bombastic, dark, massively produced style with even more emphasis on orchestration and choir singing than in Elodia.

Just like Elodia and Fassade, Echos has eight songs with an opening, largely instrumental, overture, single hit song, Anne Nurmi’s song and an epic closer. Overture Kyrie is over 12 min long and would fit in many drama operas nowadays. It is heavily orchestrated with a very few choral parts. Wind instruments tend to lead over string section backdrop. All of this creates a sense of some unavoidable disaster be it a collapse of the enchanted forest or an open sea meeting with the Flying Dutchmen (a Ghost Ship of Death). Horns and drum rolls coming to a crescendo at 1:27, 4: 44 and 9:05 min give me goosebumps! In the second position is a signature Lacrimosa radio friendly hit Durch Nacht und Flut which features the duet of Tilo and Anne. Not the best hit Lacrimosa ever came up with, but it has, dare I say on a Lacrimosa review, a life loving melody. The whole album actually is not as tragic as Elodia. To me it seemed more about lust for love (that in the end is still tragic), than dashed hopes and broken lives. Sacrifice is set to a rhythm of a ballroom dance when a male is trying to seduce a female, a brilliant song. Electronic keys which sound like xylophone are combined with interesting guitar leads. Apart is the song where Anne pays too much tribute to Enya and the whole New Age style. Ein Hauch von Menschlichkeit and Eine Nacht in Ewigkeit are soft and melodic with the latter being an “acoustic” as it is practically percussion free. Orchestral string section, however, is on display and Tilo’s voice ranges from velvet baritone to almost a hysterical lament. If not the heaviest, then at least the most up tempo, Malina is very reminiscent of a Genghis Khan (old 80s German pop band) song with its electronic keyboard melodies and even some guitar riffs. The closer Die Schreie Sind Verstummt proceeds very slowly, but it reaches its tragic apogee around 6:30 min.

To all of you who know, like and appreciate Lacrimosa – buy Echos. Yes, it tends to stagnate in spots, but that is just Tilo Wolff being himself. To all of you who don’t know this band – I’d say proceed with caution. This will be unlike any regular Gothic Metal record you are used to.

As I stated before, Lacrimosa probably is not Metal, but who gives a damn. I really don’t think Tilo and Anne would have even liked to be confined to those boundaries. They simply like to produce classically tinged dark music that is so in harmony with their souls.

When I was learning classical piano about 20 years ago my two favorite pieces were The Illness of the Doll and The Funeral of the Doll from Tchaikovsky’s Children’s Album. Nothing until I heard Lacrimosa managed to capture this feeling so far. Upon hearing Elodia I promised myself I will buy every record this band has ever produced. I have almost everything from their back catalog and now I have Echos. A true “hour of sadness” with a black-white-grey fitting cover art.

Killing Songs :
Sacrifice, Malina, Kyrie
Alex quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by Lacrimosa that we have reviewed:
Lacrimosa - Revolution reviewed by Alex and quoted 88 / 100
Lacrimosa - Lichgestalt reviewed by Ian and quoted 91 / 100
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