Lake of Tears - Headstones
Black Mark
Melodic Melancholic Doom-Goth
9 songs (48'23")
Release year: 1995
Lake of Tears, Black Mark
Reviewed by Alex
Archive review

I own five CDs by Lake of Tears. All five that were ever released by this amazing and criminally underrated band. I am not sure if I want there to be more than five. On one hand, the fan in me wants to have more of their genius. On the other hand, I am afraid that anything less than the standard Lake of Tears established will bring them down from the pedestal I put them on long time ago.

I did review The Neonai last year, sadly the last effort by these Swedish Masters of Psychedelic Doom Fairytale. And now a fan asked me to speak of Headstones. I intentionally avoided the word review, as that somehow implies being critical. Instead, in the best traditions of Mr. Storyteller himself, Daniel Brennare, who is a mastermind/composer/guitarist/vocalist of Lake of Tears, I will just enlighten you about this masterpiece.

Headstones was my first experience with Lake of Tears and it left me speechless. I doubt many noticed the band after their 1994 debut Greater Art, a pretty standard doomdeath affair. Few were expecting a monolith that followed in 1995. It is possible that even the band themselves did not know what kind of monster they have created with Headstones. Taking the enigmatically fuzzed doom-stoner metal and fusing it with melancholic atmospheric goth was never done before at this level of perfection.

The album starts with A Foreign Road, the only song I didn’t embrace upon the very first listen. The problem has been corrected since, as the song’s main riff rivals anything Black Sabbath ever done since Iron Man. Many modern day stoner bands only wish they can be as heavy, fuzzy and melodic at the same time. And that lament of a lead only adds an exclamation mark. Next three songs, Raven Land, Dreamdemons, Sweetwater, are the quintessence of what Headstones is all about. Melancholic guitar intro, grey melody, thick and heavy power chords, brooding bass lines in the background. Sometimes the songs venture into an atmospheric keyboard territory like the middle break of Dreamdemons. Clean, but with rough edges, vocals intermingled with spoken words and addictive choruses are very convincing to the point of being hypnotic. Life’s But A Dream is a short cemetery-on-a-dark-and-stormy-night instrumental. We are rescued by the church bells, chirping birds and beautiful acoustic guitar of the following title track, the highlight on an otherwise stellar album. This doom ballad is an unquestionable pinnacle with a miraculously good guitar solo.

Twilight continues in the already established vein, while Burn Fire Burn is a departure from the overall slightly lower than mid-pace tempo in a form of the more fiery hardrocking tune. The album ends with a 13 min epic The Path Of The Gods which is a Part 2 of what was probably the best song, Upon The Highest Mountain, on the debut album >. Irish flute melody and spoken words unwind into heavy power chords which crush into even heavier guitar sprinkled with piano. The vocals never speed up and tell us a deliberate story. The ending is a page reproduced many times since by the atmospheric New Age aficionados.

The lyrics of the album are simple, but so addictive and easy to sing along to I have found doing it myself subconsciously many times.

Mr. Brennare created one of the heaviest slabs of metal without resorting to brutality, tortured growls or insane tempos. If Hansi Kursch and Blind Guardians are the light-bringing bards, Daniel Brennare and Lake of Tears are pensive, bottom of your soul minstrels. Lake of Tears heaviness is so powerfully melancholic you can’t help but shake a quick tear forming in a corner of your eye. All of us had negative experiences in our lives. When I am into one, or reliving it, I often put Headstones in and go with the flow.

“Take me where the sweet water flows, Take me where the winds of spring blow”.

Killing Songs :
Just listen to all of them and you will understand why it is impossible to single out any one of them
Alex quoted 98 / 100
Other albums by Lake of Tears that we have reviewed:
Lake of Tears - Ominous reviewed by Alex and quoted 70 / 100
Lake of Tears - By the Black Sea reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
Lake of Tears - Illwill reviewed by Alex and quoted 69 / 100
Lake of Tears - Forever Autumn reviewed by Khelek and quoted 95 / 100
Lake of Tears - A Crimson Cosmos reviewed by Khelek and quoted 85 / 100
To see all 9 reviews click here
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