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It’s 2011 and guess who just threw a new album out into the cosmic soup of minstrels, but none other than Lake of Tears. That’s right, those psychedelic/doom/goth metal maestros from Sweden are back nearly 20 years after their inception as a death metal act. It’s been 4 years since their last release “Moons and Mushrooms”, which was a spectacular if not unexpected offering; so, let’s see what type of madness dwells on “Illwill”.
For the uninitiated, Lake of Tears are a band that have dipped their pen into almost every creative inkwell they could locate and expand upon their metal hybrid concept. From their beginnings as a death/doom metal outfit with “Greater Art”, to the psychedelic leanings of “Crimson Cosmos”, the gothic tinged madness of “Forever Autumn” and the techno laced stylings of “The Neonai” to name a few. The question you may now ask, is this album worth my time? I would respond with, yes.
Musically, “Illwill” is comprised of the typical elements found throughout the Lake of Tears back catalog; however I was surprised to find some material that seemed to be out of place. The album starts off kind of weak as the first 3 tracks are rather generic and repetitive; I was hard pressed to find a hook. As we move forward with tracks like “U.N.S.A.N.E.” and “House of the Setting Sun” we see the band returning to their melodic, progressive style with their hypnotic loops and haunting instrumental passages. This is particularly evident on “House of the Setting Sun” which is definitely the high point of the album and a great representation of what the band is trying to convey as a whole. Tracks like “Out of Control” and “Taste of Hell” show the band wandering into a heavier, more aggressive Sabbath-like approach to this musical journey. The album closer, “Midnight Madness” has a riffing style that could be likened to Immortal and completes the album in a grand, heavy hitting way.
If you are new to the band I would recommend starting with “Crimson Cosmos” or “Headstones”, but the seasoned Lake of Tears fan will feel right at home with “Illwill”. This album may not garner Lake of Tears any new fans or accolades for that matter, but I think in all honesty this is a band that has been operating beyond that mentality for a long time, playing simply for the shear thrill of creating something and watching it grow into something great. I was hooked when I first heard “Crimson Cosmos” about 10 years ago and they still never fail to disappoint.
Originally Written for Adequacy.net: