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Sometimes an album will come along that is just so damned unique and wonderful that you will find yourself screaming from the rafters on the injustice of its obscurity. How could this have come and gone with nary a whisper? Lake of Tears' 3rd album A Crimson Cosmos is such a piece, a beautiful effort of doom metal with folk and 70s influences, and psychedelic and fantastical themes to many of the lyrics. Their previous album Headstones was a strong one, but this takes the cake and remains my favorite of the band's career.
Although it doesn't lack for heaviness where it counts, a light heart is mandatory to appreciate the band's whimsical lyrics and flights of fantasy. "Boogie Bubble" begins the album with the slow pace you will come to expect on most of the band's tunes, with a catchy doom rock riff complemented with organs, softly tolling bells, and sweet little leads. "Cosmic Weed" rocks harder, with an unforgettable chorus and a perfect chugging gait. The simple and repetitious lyrics to this song exemplify the band's sad but beautiful perspective. "When My Sun Comes Down" is a sorrow-filled, slow moving folk rock epic, enveloped in glorious atmosphere. "Devil's Diner" is a pure rocker, with sweeping pianos. Try and imagine Elton John or Jerry Lee Lewis playing Swedish stoner rock. The lyrics are menacing in the sweetest possible way:
'Oh devil dire, save a chair for me
Oh devil dire, for me and my lily
A table set for three, my lily, him and me and a chandelier, and a chandelier
All seven candles lit it scares a little bit oh little lily dear
As the bell strikes twelve, he speaks the evil spell
he speaks the evil spell as the bell strikes twelve'
"The Four Strings of Morning" picks up with a pumping bass line, sparse but excellent use of rocking chords, more of the graceful pipe organ sounds in the distance, and an excellent chorus hook. Brennare's vocals sound particularly vulnerable and powerful here. "To Die is to Wake" is a beautiful and inspiring instrumental. Seriously, wake up some morning, look over the arctic wastes of winter New England as the sun breaks the horizon to this. Some of you might not live there, but try and imagine. Because imagination is what this album is all about, as evidenced by the next two tracks. "Lady Rosenred" is a catchy folk jig duo with Brennare and a female guest. The lyrics are beautiful as they recall times of olde and time of fantasy. Any song that talks about 'bards singing in the shadows' and 'jamming with angry mages' is alright with me. "Raistlin & the Rose" is an amazing track which recalls 80s radio rock in its use of synthesizers, yet the doomy chords are still plugging away beneath. Dragonlance fans should get a kick out of its very somber but catchy lyrics, but it's a vague enough romantic interlude that all should apply.
'As they dance under the moon, they bring doom
he calls her friend and says he'll change
she calls him friend, and he deceives again'
The album ends with the very folksy and psychedelic title track, recalling Pink Floyd. It's a chill and fitting end to such an amazing experience. And I mean that; this was the first album of its type that I had heard, and a rousing success at mixing its various elements. If Tiamat, Iron Butterfly and Pink Floyd hung out, tripped their balls off, and wrote a record, it may sound like this. This is the also the turning point for Lake of Tears, as it departed from the more straightforward folk/doom of its predecessors. The band continues along this route even on their latest, the excellent Moons and Mushrooms (second only to A Crimson Cosmos).
Brilliant and under appreciated.
Sandwiched between their monumental Swedish doom masterpiece, Headstones, and their sublimely beautiful, rocking Forever Autumn, Lake of Tears put out this bizarre little album. Normally you can't judge a book (or an album) by its cover, but I've found that with Lake of Tears' first four albums, you certainly can. Especially A Crimson Cosmos. Just look at the wacky Kristian Wahlin artwork, that features a surprising predominance of mushrooms, and you can get a good hint at what you're going to find inside. You'll also find a lot of cartoon artwork by Mr. Wahlin inside the booklet...hmm, is this really the Swedish doom we all know and love?
The riffs are still doomy, in the truest Sabbath sense of the word, and they do use quite a lot of acoustics, like on the aforementioned albums, but on here they're interspersed with psychedelic organs and guitar effects. Lake of Tears never wrote technical masterpieces, especially in terms of song structures, and on A Crimson Cosmos, these are even more suited towards catchy hooks and memorable choruses. The most obvious of these is "Devil's Diner," which jogs along at a pretty fast pace for Lake of Tears, and features an infectious chorus. "Cosmic Weed" and "Four Strings of Mourning" take the prize for heaviest songs, and it really comes as a surprise that these songs are so heavy, especially when one considers the other material on here that is much more light hearted. "To Die is to Wake" is an exceptionally mournful instrumental, with light psychedelic touches and a searing guitar solo, which really feels like old Iron Maiden. We have Quorthon's younger sister, Jennie, contributes some vocals on "Lady Rosenred," which is incredibly catchy and features the most acoustics on the album.
It's really hard to say that this is a great album for me, because the albums preceding and succeeding it are really fucking good, but A Crimson Cosmos features some strong material, none the less. I guess the main problem I have with the album is that it is very light hearted, which contrasts with their other albums. That doesn't mean that it's bad, because it's very far from that, and this is something that has much greater appeal than Lake of Tears' normal output.
So here I am, 35000 feet above the ocean, listening to one of the worst albums I have ever heard. I never thought I'd have to hear myself say that one! The album of interest in this case is none other than 'A Crimson Cosmos', written by Lake of Tears.
I had heard a few good things about this album, so I decided to check it out. I figured I would download the album to see if I liked it enough to buy it. I was dissapointed by the lack of imagination and thought put into this album. Its overall feel was a childish, repetative anthem of substandard garbage.
The album is kicked off with a very strange spoken intro, for a song called Boogie Bubble. Now with a name like that, you can't expect much lyrically, but I was not about to judge a book by its cover and gave it an unbiased listen. It continues with very bland riffing, mixing with a pretty annoying singing voice. The juvenile chorus of this song is repeated far too many times in this song, with very little variation throughout the rest of the song.
I was still willing to give the rest of the album a try, so I would be able to have an in-depth view of the album for my review. I had hoped the album would redeem itself with (at least) a few catchy tunes. But it all went downhill from there, repetative riffs, beats, and lyrics made for an extremely boring listen. The songs are limited to the most basic of drum beats, the most naive of lyrics, and extremely BORING riffing.
You may be thinking to yourself, "There must be SOMETHING worth listening to on 'A Crimson Cosmos', but you know what? There isn't. Minus the poor lyrical content, and the fact that the musicians show very limited amounts of skill in writing and performing music, the production certainly does not help. It is definately not the wosrt I have heard, but there is also room for improvement.
Bottom line, this album is worthless, so, please believe me when I say that I look forward to deleting this piece of garbage from my computer, and I surely will not be buying it. I hope my review has saved your ears from this insulting excuse for music. Next time I fly, I assure you I will not be listening to this, because it made my flight, a flight gone wrong.