Lacrimosa - Echos

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Nuclear Blast
Catalog Number: NB 1091-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 57:31:00

If Echos were only the 12-plus minute "Kyrie" that opens the album - an amazing orchestral overture of grand scope - this would be a five star album. In fact, it is a five star album anyway, but it could be just this track and be complete. It is a dark and dramatic piece with an epic sweep and so full of emotion? Listening to this on headphones, sitting quietly, I had this whole dramatic scenario run through my head, tied into the album cover's artwork - of lost love and tragedy. Naturally then, my thoughts were in black and white, and set in the 17th or 18th century (maybe even the early part of the 19th), during a harsh and bitter winter. The album artwork doesn't really relate to the story inside, other than providing a dark and moody setting in a time other than the present. It is not less interesting for it. Here we have two tragic figures. He has, by some circumstance, been cast out from the rest of the world - the misunderstood and brooding individual whose emotions are deep but turbulent. It is that very thing that provides the allure to the other, the woman he ensnares by seduction. It is, in a way, the classic tale of beauty and the beast, though in the end, beauty does not tame the beast, but is rather consumed by him. Though in the end, she becomes like him and the two will live, so to speak, gloomily together ever after. What came to mind in the abstract were Wuthering Heights and the vampire fiction of Anne Rice.

There are 8 pieces in all which, after this spectacular and dramatic opening, fall into the category of "goth" - I haven't listened to much goth myself, if any, so I don't know if the orchestral elements are consistent part of the genre - or aspects of the genre --, or something unique to Lacrimosa and other goth bands of a particular bent. At any rate, all the elements combine here to create a seductive mix. Reading their bio, Echos comes as culmination of 13 years producing music of a gothic nature, this being Lacrimosa's eighth album overall, and their second to be released in North America.

Most of the music is a moody and dark mix of rock and orchestration, all done spectacularly and seamlessly - the two elements are a perfect mix. The exceptions to the moodiness are the "poppier" pieces "Through Night And Flood," which reminded me of The Church quite a bit (and The Cult a little bit), and the energetic swirl of "Malina" - though neither can truly be said to be pop. "Sacrifice" is a dark, smoldering piece that at times has almost tango-like arrangement, all placed in a lush, string setting. This also features a lovely guitar solo from Jay P., who also contributes bass, acoustic guitar, and mellotron to the album, and some nice church organ-like keyboard work from Anne Nurmi, who sings a lilting lead on "Apart," the lone piece sung in English. On "Apart," keyboard washes provide an undulating bed against which gently throbbing drums and bass, and the occasional snicker of percussion, provide an atmospheric context for Nurmi's vocals. I love the swelling strings that back the romantic "A Touch Of Humanity," and the warm piano opening to "One Night In Eternity" from composer, vocalist, pianist Tilo Wolff. The whole arrangement is appealing, being mainly piano and strings behind Wolff's voice.

While not the case on "One Night," in general Tilo Wolff's voice does have some getting used to in the lower ranges, where it's deep and a little creepy (he does have a fairly wide range, though). On the other hand, it seems wholly appropriate and works quite well - it contrasts the romantic "hero" with the dangerous "beast." His arrangements on these pieces are tremendous, each being glittering gems. The hidden bonus track is a reprise of "Through Night And Flood," which at the end switches from German to Spanish.

This is an amazing and impressive piece of work that must be heard to get the full experience. So rich in construction, so varied in texture, and consistent - it is album where the whole epic sweep of it will carry you through, attentively listening to each symphonic passage. Surely one of the best releases so far this year, if not the best. It is certainly on my top ten list for the year. Highly recommended.

Kyrie (12:42) / Durch Nacht Und Flut (Through Night And Flood) (6:08) / Sacrifice (9:28) / Apart (4:16) / Ein Hauch Von Menschlichkeit (A Touch Of Humanity) (5:05) / Ein Nacht In Ewigkeit (One Night In Eternity) (5:52) / Malina (4:48) / Die Schreie Sind Verstummt (Requiem F¨r Drei Gamben Un Klavier) (The Screams Are Silenced (Requiem For Three Bass Violins and Piano) (12:42)

Tilo Wolff - piano, programming and voice
Anne Nurmi - keyboards and voice
Jay P. - electric and acoustic guitars and basses, mellotron
Manne Uhlig - drums
Thomas Nack - drums
Catharina Goutari - soprano
Raphaela Mayhaus - soprano
Bettina Hunold - soprano
Uli Brandt - alto
Melanie Kirschke - alto
Ursula Ritter - alto
Yenz Leonhard - tenor
Olaf Senkbeil - tenor
Klaus Bülow - tenor
Frederick Martin - bass
Joachim Gebardt - bass
Rosenberg Ensemble Choir
Stefan Pintev - 1st violin
Rodrigo Reichel - 2nd violin
Sebastian Marock - viola
V. Sondekis - cello and gamben
Katharina Bunners - double bass
Deutsches Filmorchester Babselsberg
Günter Joseck - conductor
Spielman-Schnyder Philharmonic
Ludgar Hendrich - konzertmeister
Christopher Glayton - conductor

Angst (1991)
Einsamkeit (1992)
Satura (1993)
Inferno (1995)
Stille (1997)
Live (1998)
Elodia (1999)
Fassade (2001)
Echos (2003)
Lichtgestalt (2005)
Lichtjahre (2007)
Sehnsucht (2009)

Genre: Other

Origin DE

Added: June 15th 2003
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1652
Language: english


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