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Ploughing on for fifteen years now, Lacrimas Profundere's tireless work ethic has served them well, with each successive release gradually gaining the band greater recognition. Album number eight, "Songs for the Last View" sees them continue this trend, with no signs of tiring just yet.
Unfortunately, this growing success has produced a casualty in the form of vocalist Christopher Schmid, who co-founded the band with brother Oliver. In what has already been an unsettled couple of years in terms of the band's line-up, Schmid left the band last year citing "....prolonged stress from touring". However, his replacement, Rob Vitacca does an admirable job. Although similar in style to those of his predecessor, Vitacca's vocals are slightly deeper, often sounding very much like The Sisters of Mercy's Andrew Eldritch.
Stylistically, "Songs for the Last View" continues the logical progression that has seen the band gradually leave behind their doom influenced roots and move further into the realms of gothic rock. The increasingly prevalent Fields of the Nephilim and Sisters of Mercy influences, coupled with Vitacca's vocals and the female backing vocals, mean that some of the tracks here wouldn't sound out of place on The Sister's "Floodland" album. I wouldn’t go as far as to agree with the band's own bizarre description of "....the gothic equivalent to "Appetite for Destruction" ", but this album does feature a greater number of up-tempo, though not necessarily up-beat, numbers.
Although this is tempered slightly by the inclusion of some slower and more sullen tracks which are reminiscent of their older days, the overall feel is that this album is the result of Lacrimas Profundere stepping towards more commercial territory. However, that is only comparatively speaking and not an accusation of selling out - there is no danger of them becoming the next H.I.M. - there is merely a greater emphasis on riffs and catchy melodies. The dark heart of Lacrimas Profundere is still intact, with all the sombre moodiness and melancholic introspection that you would expect from these stalwarts of the genre, woven around the concept of a dying man viewing scenes from his life as they flash before him.
Dark and reflective, but with the ability to rock out at the same time, "Songs for the Last View" is another commendable effort from these sultans of sadness.