Lake Of Tears - The Neonai

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Black Mark
Catalog Number: BMCD153
Format: CD
Total Time: 00:00:00

The development of essential European death metal bands from growling monsters to exquisite symphonies is the story of the nineties. Bands like Therion, Anathema, Amorphis, Tiamat and many others have proved the musical viability of Death Metal, if not its limitations as well.

One band that goes so unnoticed in all this fuss is the Swedish Lake Of Tears. Though apparently broken up since their last release, Forever Autumn, the band regrouped to record this year's The Neonai ? apparently for contractual obligations, and as much for the heavy protest of many like-minded fans who wanted to hear another album from a band who had just peaked creatively.

Forever Autumn, simply put, was the 90s forgotten masterpiece. A bittersweet, sublime convocation of symphonic ballads and mid-tempo rockers, it was the final and ultimate step in the transformation of a once, grinding death metal band. Though Lake Of Tears never screeched like the others, its sound was always dense, gritty and chunky. With their last three releases however, all the edges have been smoothed out and the music displays a melancholia and maturity that one can find only in the masterworks of early Pink Floyd and Camel.

The Neonai, though only slightly inferior to Forever Autumn, is none-the-less a masterpiece. The songs are generally more aggressive and befitting the sound from Crimson Cosmos era. That is to say, a blending of European symphonic rock, metal, and 60's psychedelia. Songs are generally short, but superbly crafted. Though Lake Of Tears albums rarely clock in at more than 40-45 minutes, there is absolutely no filler.

Every second song on The Neonai is a dense balance ballsy rocker. While speed metal freaks may find the pace generally slower, there's no denying the special quality that each song brings, over and above other metal songs. That is not to say Lake of Tears has a complex or highly variable sound. The opposite is true. Songs blend together, interlaced in their eloquence and simplicity. It ultimately makes for a refreshing, and easy listen.

While keyboards aren't traditionally part of the band's arsenal, this, like previous albums makes good use of them, incorporating electric piano into a potpourri of mellotron, organ and synthesiser. The sound is warm, inviting and mystical.

Easily one of the best releases of the year, The Neonai is well worth checking out. Along with Forever Autumn, these are the two essential purchases of the last decade for anyone who believes in metal's viability to soothe and heal. An absolute and unmitigated recommendation to all readers of this review ? this is a band that must be heard.

Intro / Return Of Ravens / The Shadowshires / Solitude / Leave A Room / Sorcerers / Can Die No More / Nathalie And The Fireflies / Let Us Go As They Do / Down The Nile / Outro

Daniel Brennare ? vocals, guitar
Mikael Larsson ? bass guitar
Johan Oudhuis ? drums

Guest Musicians:

Magnus Sahlgren ? guitars
Jennie Tebler ? vocals
Ulf Wahlberg ? keyboards

Greater Art (1994)
Headstones (1995)
A Crimson Cosmos (1997)
Forever Autumn (1999)
The Neonai (2002)

Genre: Death-Black Metal

Origin CH

Added: January 12th 2003
Reviewer: RIPZ

Artist website:
Hits: 832
Language: english


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