Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Album Review: Lacrimas Profundere - Hope Is Here

I will admit to being a novice when it comes to Gothic rock. I know a few of the big names, but I have rarely thrown myself into anything that calls itself Gothic. I'm not sure exactly why that is, since there isn't anything about the music that would inherently deter me, but I've been trying to rectify that this year. Lacrimas Profundere is the third Gothic album I have covered on this site in 2016, and with this being their first concept album, I think it's safe to say that raises the stakes a bit. Gothic concepts can bring to mind any number of visions of horror and darkness, but that is going to be hard to translate through music. Concept albums are never as successful as the artists want them to be, because there is simply no way of conveying an entire story in the limited number of lyrics on a record.

Lacrimas Profundere's recipe doesn't exactly lend itself to the scope of a concept album. They play a perfectly fine brand of melancholy rock, but their range of sounds is limited, so there isn't anything about the music itself that would lead you to think this is more than an average record. Every song has the same ringing minor chords and dramatic half-sung vocals, all of which blends together by the middle of the album. For being a story, the 'chapters' aren't at all apparent through the uniform sound of the songs.

But that's a question of structure. What about the actual music?

Well, that's not exactly something that fares all that much better. The band is good at getting across the sound of despair, but that's about all they do well. I understand that not every guitar-based band is going to play big, hooky riffs, but the musical backdrops on these tracks are wholly anonymous. There is little to anything about these instrumentals that will ever be memorable. The chords are strummed, but never in any rhythms that deviate in a way that's interesting. It's faceless music that could be interchangeable with any other song on the record, or with plenty of other bands trying the same thing.

That could be salvaged with a vocal performance that hooks the listener, but that's not the case here either. The vocals are that stereotypical sound for Gothic rock that sounds like someone trying to be cool, who doesn't realize that he sounds like the creepy guy in his 30s hanging out at a high school. There's no energy to the performance, and the melodies are too flat to grip me. It's that kind of melodic where it's assumed that anything that is smooth must be good, and that certainly is not the case. Here's a tip: try singing along with any of these songs. The experience is completely boring. If the melody is boring, the song is usually going to be below par.

Take all of that, and add in the fact that without the lyric sheet in front of me, I can't tell you the first detail of the story, and you get an album that is a horrible disappointment. It's not grand, it's not memorable, and it's not even all that Gothic. This year's album from The 69 Eyes is a far better example of how to do Gothic rock the right way. This album might be striving, but it's reaching up from the bottom of a deep hole. I'm sorry to say it, but this is, to apologize for the pun, profoundly disappointing.

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