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Lake of Tears: Ominous

Veteran one-man goth/prog rock project Lake of Tears have returned after almost a decade of silence with their new LP, Ominous. Daniel Brennare, multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire, brings us an eclectic, dark, and mysterious album full of twists and turns. And while this (along with its looming album cover) would suggest a depressive slog of an album, it's more emotional and introspective than you might imagine.

First track "At the Destination" starts us off with a dancy goth-club beat, and it erupts into dirty distorted guitars that almost reminds the listener of a swarm of buzzing insects. It's unsettling and dark, and conjures images of the dingiest, gnarliest leather and studs dance party you've ever imagined. A string section begins weaving in and out of the album towards the end of this song, and it's a welcome, emotive addition to Daniel's eclectic blend of sounds. Sadly, this blend of sounds also includes said maestro's voice, which to me is easily the weakest point of the album. His voice is thin, unexpressive, and largely doesn't compliment the darkness found in Ominous. It really did leave me yearning for someone with a more resonant, commanding voice.

The album slows down considerably with the next track, "In Wait and In Worries". A moody, folk-tinged acoustic intro leads into what is a lengthy, spacey, and depressive sprawl of a song. Daniel's voice begins to waver as the song picks up intensity, and it's one of his more effective and engaging vocal performances on the album.

The almost tribal drum intro of "Lost in a Moment" segues into some black metal-esque tremolo guitar riffs that guide the song into a doomy stomp. This slow crawl and Daniel's vocals elict images of him sermonizing to a dark clergy as they prepare for the end times.

Once Daniel steps down from his pulpit, we are treated to the best 1-2 punch on the album. "Ominous One" and "Ominous Too". One rocks immediately and marches along with a riff that recalls Bathory's viking-era output. Again, Daniel's voice is the only thing holding this song back from being truly massive and threatening. Part One stops on a dime and Two (or Too, as it were) begins with an almost film-score like solo violin and piano. It's all very black-and white film, and one that without question will end poorly for its cast. Distorted guitars and drums pop in to provide a similar tempo to the previous song as the strings again come in on top to provide a dramatic climax to the movement. Really nicely done set of songs.

"One Without Tears is a straight-ahead doomy rocker, and it would be right at home on a My Dying Bride or Paradise Lost album. "The End of This World" starts off with an intro that appears to be provided by an old PC hard drive that is booting up the soundtrack to the coming apocalypse. This is the lone instrumental on the album and is very aptly titled considering the growing intensity and sense of dread that slowly builds up over the course of the song. It's full-on horror/suspense movie climax levels of nerve-wracking strings and gurgling towards the end will have you shifting a bit in your chair.

"Cosmic Sailor" is the longest track found here, and its title gives you a pretty good indication of what to expect. Another slow, expansive track that does bring to mind a lone spacefarer drifting through the cosmos as he ponders the meaning of existence and the universe as a whole. Winding down with clean guitars and what I can only describe as hand drums and tambourine, it's all a bit overlong but effective.

The final (bonus) song "In Gloom" is a beautiful, haunting, and all too brief experience laden with the ever-present emotive strings, acoustic guitar and harmonized vocal lines. The melodies are sublime, uplifting, and simultaneously heartbreaking and honestly makes you wonder why the hell Daniel waited for the final three or so minutes of the album to show off this side of his musicality. As a bonus track, it's baffling to even imagine that there could be versions of this album in the future that omit "In Gloom". An easy 5/5 song, and one I'll be coming back to even if I don't revisit the album as a whole.

It's an eclectic album and one that largely defies most genre-tags I can think of aside from a rather nebulous "gothic rock", but I do feel that it does a disservice to the sheer wealth of different ideas and sounds found inside. There are moments that bog the album down due to their slow lurch that overstay their welcome, and again I would have preferred a different approach to the vocals overall (by means of a different singer, probably). Even with that said, Ominous won my attention and by my third or so listen I was surprised at how invested I was in the overall vibe of the whole thing. It's an eerie, and (emotionally) heavy release, but not without moments of beauty and spikes of energy that will keep you from entirely sinking into a funk.

Track Listing:
1. At the Destination
2. In Wait and in Worries
3. Lost in a Moment
4. Ominous One
5. Ominous Too
6. One Without Dreams
7. The End of This World
8. Cosmic Sailor
9. In Gloom (Bonus Track)

Added: February 2nd 2021
Reviewer: Brandon Miles
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1253
Language: english

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