Lake of Tears - Illwill
AFM Records
Various Modern Metal and Gothic Rock
10 songs (40'23")
Release year: 2011
Lake of Tears, AFM Records
Reviewed by Alex

This was simply not supposed to happen. I thought this day would never come, but here I am admitting that I am disappointed in the latest Lake of Tears album. At no point in their 15+ year career of this completely idiosyncratic Swedish band I felt the way I do with Illwill. This is Lake of Tears of course, so they are allowed to experiment in any way they want to, given that all of the directions explored previously by the band had me on board regardless of the style/genre chosen. And there were many a genre Lake of Tears have gone through. None of their albums are alike. My CD shelves happen to have every one of them, from the classic My Dying Bride doom of Greater Art to the transcending epic breakthrough Headstones to the mushroom metal of A Crimson Cosmos to naked folk acoustics of Forever Autumn to pop musings of The Neonai to the resurrection of Black Brick Road and, finally, wholly psychedelic encounter Moons and Mushrooms. My last sentence may have put you out of breath, but if you have never explored this fabulous discography you have simply done yourself a disservice. So, now we have Illwill – an attempt to be rougher and tougher around the edges, step up both the tempo and production, spread the effort thin across the wide variety of thinly veiled influences, and throughout it all never connect.

For one, the track sequence puzzles. For somebody not as invested in Lake of Tears, the listener may quit in the first half of the album where some strange offerings like The Hating are presented. Not until the introspective psychedelic rocker House of the Setting Sun, with its bleeping subliminal lines, an active bass and oh-so unique tear-strained vocals of Daniel Brennare, we get a quality I have come to expect from these gothic/doom/avant-garde masters. It is if the band wanted to try their hand at every possible metal direction, creating a strange hodge-podge in a process. With time I have taught myself to like the opener Floating in Darkness even with its harsh pseudo-thrash dragging riffs. The title track seemed to be the step in the right direction, which remained underdeveloped. The things disintegrated from there. U.N.S.A.N.E. is pure WASP tribute, with rolling double bass chorus, Blackie Lawless characteristic melody and vocal phrasing, bridge solo, abbreviated song title and ridiculous sexist lyrics. The Hating may be the strangest one of all going for the helicopter guitar chops and vocals unearthed from the Turbo-era Judas Priest (as in Locked In, Wild Nights Hot & Crazy Days). Parasites bust out the punky chaos of Motorhead, after some mid-album gothic rock respite, and Midnight Madness unties the knot completely by slipping into a practically black metal Moonspell styled modern harshness. Sounds disjointed enough for you?

Whatever happened to Lake of Tears songwriters, but they seemed to be possessed with an unhealthy amount of callousness and anger. Those feelings are not foreign to anybody, but in the hands of Brennare, Oudhuis & Co they translated into even their more traditional gothic rockers like Out of Control to be faceless and monotone affairs. Bouncing from one corner to another, Illwill managed to created a seemingly unbreachable wall between my today’s senses and one of my all-time favorite bands. I am not saying that mellow melancholic tunes needed to be an order of the day, but the impersonal modern-day punched up dragging chords were not something I expected.

The best antidote to recover after Illwill was to go and re-listen to the above mentioned line of outstanding albums, and while my unbending infatuation with everything prior to today Lake of Tears created was confirmed, it only reinforced the feeling of Illwill being an oddball out. Here is to hoping this is not becoming a trend …

Killing Songs :
House of the Setting Sun, Behind the Green Door
Alex quoted 69 / 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 - Forever Autumn reviewed by Khelek and quoted 95 / 100
Lake of Tears - A Crimson Cosmos reviewed by Khelek and quoted 85 / 100
Lake of Tears - Moons and Mushrooms reviewed by Alex and quoted 92 / 100
To see all 9 reviews click here
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