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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.