REVIEW: Lacrimas Profundere – How to Shroud Yourself with Night

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I have been experiencing a kind of Gothic metal revival in my musical preferences following HIM’s disbandment in 2017, really liking the latest releases from PARADISE LOST, MOONSPELL, DRACONIAN, KATATONIA, and LORD OF THE LOST. But none of them scratched that itch for dark, gloomy metal quite like LACRIMAS PROFUNDERE’s newest opus, “How to Shroud Yourself with Night,” even if LOTL’s “Judas” ended up being my Album of the Year for 2021. The follow-up to the German Gothic/dark metal band’s superb 2019 outing, “Bleeding the Stars,” was released on August 26th, 2022, via Steamhammer/SPV and it is as mysterious and exciting as expected given the fascinating title.  

Why is it that the second album a band puts out after a vocalist change is, more often than not, a few notches above their previous record? We’ve seen it with KAMELOT’s “Haven” (the second one with Tommy Karevik), AMARANTHE’s “Manifest” (the second one with Nils Molin), NIGHTWISH’s “Imaginaerum” and “Human. :||: Nature.” (the second ones with Anette Olzon and Floor Jansen respectively), and now again with “How to Shroud yourself with Night,” LACRIMAS PROFUNDERE’s second album with powerhouse vocalist Julian Larre. Is the communication better? Or maybe they trust more in the abilities and input of their newest member? Is the new bandmate more involved in the creation of the new album? The answer to these three questions is definitely “yes” in this case and the end result is spectacular, to say the least, yet is also quite restless. The album never really settles into a pace or a rhythm, as it is always morphing, meandering, and changing, thus leading the listeners through so many sonic soundscapes, textures, and moods without ever being overbearing and, most importantly, without losing sight of the band’s core sound.

This is an album that is probably going to challenge some listeners to think outside the box. Take, for instance, “The Vastness of Infinity” – a number that is very guitar heavy but has a melancholy vocal delivery in the verses coupled with a melodic chorus, which honestly makes for a weirdly beautiful juxtaposition of melodies and moods. In theory, this song should not work as well as it does, but after some spins, it unveils a vulnerable core that makes it simply irresistible. On the same idea, songs like Gothic metalcore mash-up “The Curtain of White Silence” or black metal-tinged doom opener “Wall of Gloom” may take a bit of time to grow on the listeners, while melodeath delight “To Disappear in You” or superb lead single “A Cloak Woven of Starsoffer instant gratification with smooth deliveries and energetic chorus sections. This is exactly what makes “How to Shroud yourself with Night” so exciting and alluring – you don’t get the same formula applied to the songs, at least not from a sonic perspective. Case in point: the string section on “To Disappear in You” as well as the piano moment in “The Curtain of White Silence,” which add so much intensity and drama to the songs.

What holds this record together through so many sonic varieties is the dark, gloomy atmosphere that is prevalent on all ten tracks, alongside Julian Larre’s magnificent vocals, no matter how varied and dynamic his approach to the songs is. One moment he goes for a seductive tone, like in Goth rockers “An Invisible Beginning” or “In a Lengthening Shadow,” showcasing his rich lower register, and then he unleashes some intense screams, like in industrial groove anthem “Unseen” or aforementioned “To Disappear in You.” Sometimes he just mixes things up, as heard in the enticing “Nebula.” His vocals work in tandem with what the songs require out of his range and versatility, never settling for the same approach twice. The mournful vocals on the doomy “Shroud of Night” or the angrier voice in “The Curtain of White Silence” or the black metal screams in “Wall of Gloom” are really good examples of how expansive his vocals abilities are.

Credit where credit is also due, as Oliver Nikolas Schmid delivers everything from melodic riffs to impressive leads and heavy guitar work, as evident on such tracks as “A Cloak Woven of Stars” where his melodies reign supreme, or “The Vastness of Infinity” and “Unseen,” with their powerful walls of guitars, or the doom-laden opening riffs to “Shroud of Night” and “Wall of Gloom.” Even though this is not a guitar-driven album, the instrument still has an important role to play in the overall soundscape of the album, with Oliver Nikolas Schmid’s work being as versatile as Julian Larre’s vocal performance. The rhythm section formed by Ilker Ersin on bass and Dominik Scholz on drums keep a tight foundation that lets the songs expand. However, some moments stood out, like in “To Disappear in You” or “Unseen,” which are potent and massive, giving the songs extra bulkiness, while the bass melodies that underpin the vocals in “An Invisible Beginning” or “Nebula” are really gorgeous.

All-in-all, the main strength of this album is the way the band manages to showcase so many different influences on individual songs yet still put them together into one cohesive unit. This aspect gives “How to Shroud Yourself with Night” an incredible replay value as new sounds, nuances, and especially vocal layerings await discovery even after multiple listenings (especially if you’re listening to it with headphones). This rich and varied album is not just a great companion to “Bleeding the Stars,” but a perfect calling card of who LACRIMAS PROFUNDERE is in 2022 and what they have to offer with this new and revamped line-up. But above all, it is a great indicator of what can happen when you throw the rulebook out the window and let the songs be what they want to be instead of shoehorning them into a pre-established pattern.

Written by Andrea Crow

Tracklist

  1. Wall of Gloom
  2. A Cloak Woven of Stars
  3. Nebula
  4. In A Lengthening Shadow
  5. The Curtain of White Silence
  6. Unseen
  7. The Vastness of Infinity
  8. To Disappear in You
  9. An Invisible Beginning
  10. Shroud of Night

Lineup

Julian Larre – vocals
Oliver Nikolas Schmid – guitar
Ilker Ersin – bass
Dominik Scholz – drums

Label

Steamhammer / SPV

Links

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