Lacrimas Profundere _Hope Is Here.jpgaLacrimas Profundere is an awkward moniker that’s tough to say and harder to spell, but they’ve been one of the most successful and consistent goth-metal acts over the last 20 years. I really enjoyed 2010s The Grandiose Nowhere and 2013s Antiadore and they’ve proven to be one of the few goth acts that know how to inject real aggression and “metal” into their sound (so much so that I frequently include their music on play lists I run and work out to). Naturally, I expected their streak of quality outings to continue on Hope is Here, but this is a bit of a departure from their usual fare. It’s their first attempt at a concept album and it features a more restrained, depressive style than we’ve seen in recent years. Much of the material is extremely laid back goth-rock without much of their trademark aggression and at times it begs the question – can a goth metal album be too goth of its own good?

With a concept revolving around a lonely boy left to dwell in the forest because he’s different (the upcoming movie version is called Pete’s Dragon), you would expect a healthy dose of glum, depressive music, and that’s what opener “The Worship of Counting Down” delivers. It seems a strange choice for an opener though, as it’s very slow, sedate and quite long at over 6-plus minutes. It reminds me of Danzig‘s “Little Whip” but with all the mansweat and machismo sponged off, and though it’s effectively gloomy and haunting, it runs at least 2 minutes too long and does a poor job enticing the listener to stay tuned for more. Things pick up with “My Halo Ground,” which brings a bit more punch to the still sleepy goth palate, but when the title track hits it’s the same languid, slow rock that would make The Cure seem uplifting by comparison, though it’s decent for what it is.

“Aramis,” “A Million Miles” and “No Man’s Land” eventually deliver the classic Lacrimas Profundere style and the resulting oomph is much appreciated, and “Pageant” stands out for mixing dark, ominous country music with traces of Danzig and what sounds like pieces of The Beatles “Help.” However, almost the entire back-half of the album consists of glum ballads or quasi-ballads and though they’re effectively despondent, they’re also dull and apart from “Timbre,” they don’t stick like the band’s material usually would.

Lacrimas Profundere_2016.jpga

At just over 45 minutes, the ponderous pacing of Hope is Here makes it feel much longer and by the time closing ballad “Black Moon” arrives, I’m so lost in the forests of boredom that I simply don’t care what happens to lost boys anymore. The overabundance of mid-tempo or slow-tempo cuts is surprising, and though Lacrimas always had these kinds of tracks, they wisely offset them with just as many flat-out rockers that got your head moving. Without those counterbalancing “hard” tracks, this quickly becomes a slog through the trees of apathy. The track order also works against them, as you get 3 snoozers before the first “high energy” track arrives to shake you from a narcoleptic stupor.

The core of the band has remained the same for a few albums now and though I really love Rob Vitacca’s vocals on the last three albums, he often sounds tired and uninspired here, like a dissipated Ville Valo (H.I.M.). When the songs ramp up, Vitacca sounds like himself, but on mega-ballads like “You, My North” his delivery is so stereotypically sadboy it’s almost comical. The dialed-down energy and pacing also leaves little for guitarists Oliver Nikolas Schmid and Tony Berger to do and this is an album without much in the way of actual riffs. They still know how to create a downcast atmosphere with their melodic noodling and understated, minimalist playing, but too much downcast is just too damn much.

I wanted to love this, but Hope is Here is definitely a step downward and lacks the vibrancy of their better albums. It isn’t a total loss though, as there are some quality songs and the restrained and introspective style makes for the near perfect soundtrack for a vicious hangover or a weekend trapped inside as winter imposes its frigid dominion. Since this is actually a summer release, I recommend storing it next to the snow shovel and bourbon and then playing the waiting game.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Nuclear Blast/SPV
Websiteslacrimas.com/en | faebook.com/lacrimasprofundereofficial
Releases Worldwide: August 12th, 2016

 

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  • Phantom667

    The track ave end from the 2004 album with the same name still gets played regularly over here – whenever some old buddies of mine show up and we drink before going to a party. Dont ask why, I guess its some nostalgia thing. The band had some decent releases up until that point. I cant get over the change of singers though that happend 3 (?) albums back and after reading this review it seems I dont have to make time for this one either.

    On the flip side new horseback is here!! Get out the fucking balloons!

    • Diego Molero

      The kid on the cover already did that. And then he got abandoned. So better not.

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    That album artwork looks like the cover for an album you’d delegate to Huck, alongside the average rating. What a surprise.

    And I know these guys are goth metal, but I honestly never thought I’d see the day when a grown man uses “Goodbye” and “Falling down” in the same lyric. Kinda wanna find as many corny sadboy metal lyrics as I can now and put ’em on a t-shirt.

    • Reese Burns

      Would make for a nice “spot the cliché” drinking game.

  • Hard to say much from the brief embedded preview thing, but my quick take is that the music sounded great and the vocals ruined it.

  • Ed Howard-Jones

    I’m curious as to what the AMG readers’ favourite season is.
    Mine is winter, and I’d expect that to be the answer.

  • Alex Bergomo

    Big disappointment indeed, the lyrics have never been the strenght of this band but at least the instruments have always been awesome.

    This album is so boring that it’s unbearable and from my understanding this is the first one where Vitacca had also power in the song writing so I hope from the next one he is not goint to have this responsibility again.

    Where in the blue hell has Cristopher gone?!?!?