This legendary group started off as the solo project of Tilo Wolff. He started composing music and released his first official album Angst in 1991. He also took a major leap right from the start and formed his own label Hall of Sermon for this and many subsequent releases. He soon followed up with the classic album Einsamkeit. These first few albums featured more of a dark, full classical orchestra sound, very atypical of the usual gothic music at the time, though it fit very nicely in the underground goth scene and he gained a loyal following.
The year 1994 was a pivotal year in that Anne Nurmi joined Tilo on keyboards and as backing and female vocals on many tracks. From this time we start to hear a bit more of the metal and symphonic styles coming forth stronger and taking a dominant role in the music. The band continued to work hard releasing album after album nearly every year, or about every other year. Over the course of their career they have release a dozen full-length albums along with a number of singles and videos. Their career hasn't been confined to just releasing their music, but they've spent a lot of time touring and playing live all over the world. Add on top of that, for a while Hall of Sermon also released other albums from other bands, but recently have gone back to focusing solely on their own releases.
I first became acquainted with Lacrimosa in 1994 with their eclectic, dark and incredibly unique sound of Einsamkeit. At first I wasn't sure what to think, but over the years this album has grown on me to be a favorite and a classic. Over the years I picked up a few other albums including with Stille and Elodia being favorites with the harder metal edge and symphonic metal respectively. It's exciting to continue to try to keep pace with this band with each new release and the latest being one of their greatest masterpieces to date, with Senhsucht in 2009.
Sehnsucht - Review
When I caught word of this new album, I started listening to samples and reading up on the news with "longing" as I anxiously awaited this great new work. Like so many of the previous works, this album contains that huge diversity of classical music mixed with hard-edged, driving guitars and the dark gothic rock sound as well as a couple of nice ballads with an ethereal twist. We're presented with ten solid traks in classic Lacrimosa style.
I think that touching on each track here is well worth it with the classical music foundation starting off the album with "Die Sehnsucht In Mir". This mid-tempo track builds and falls in intensity and sets the stage for the emotional roller coaster ride that takes place through the rest of the album across each track. As we drift out of this somewhat melancholy track we're thrown full force into the hard, driving edge of "Mandira Nabula" which features a light-hearted accordion alongside harsh, driving guitars that break-down at one point in the song sounding more like Metallica than your typical goth-metal. The track recovers nicely and we're moved quickly on to the downtempo, almost ethereal piece "A.u.S.". In this piece we start off with broken chords weaving a spellbinding masterpiece that gradually builds to a solid emotional, symphonic ballad for an excellent added variety to the album.
While it's extremely hard to pick a favorite on this album with so many masterpieces, "Feuer" stands out as an excellent powerful track mixing the best of classical with gothic rock and a touch of metal. Throughout the entire track we have a string orchestra keeping pace with the driving percussion and grinding guitars. A nice little accent on this piece is the inclusion of a small children's choir whic I think is really awesome amidst all of the harshness of this track, it's a real dychotomy, the soft orchestra against the guitars, Tilo's rough vocals accented by the children and so on for a perfect balance, something that very few artists could really pull off. As the orchestra draws this track to a close we're given another soft ballad with Anne taking the vocal lead. As with previous albums they include a couple of english tracks, usually with Anne taking the lead. This piece is more of a typical goth-metal ballad, mid-tempo but still including the fairly heavy percussion and guitars. This soft piece provides a nice break in between the previously mentioned "Feuer" and the driving, and inclusion of another english track "I Lost My Star In Krasnodar". While it may seem a little cliche at times, once again this band pulls it off with this driving goth-metal track in ways only they could do.
Almost as if on cue of one track heavy and one track soft, we're back to the beautiful soft ballad "Die Taube" which features spellbinding piano as the backbone of this piece. The orchestra comes in and builds to provide the backdrop for Tilo's vocals that mix surprisingly well with each of these softer pieces that he has pulled together from the very beginning. As if just to prove my theory wrong, we get another soft piece making two in a row, and this one make yet another english track in the form of "Call Me With The Voice Of Love". Now this piece is unique for Lacrimosa in it's content, while the ballads are usually fairly dark and melancholy, this one is a straight-up ballad with a classical piano as the backdrop and not something you would normally expect from a symphonic metal band.
To wrap up the album we are presented with two very solid and powerful symphonic metal pieces "Der Tote Winkel" and "Koma". Each of these pieces are what I would call more along the lines of the more prominent Lacrimosa sound with heavy, grinding guitars layered over a heavy, variable beat and angst-ridden, powerful vocals, at times blended male and female forming a nice harmony. Both are fairly long, similar to classical masterpieces split across various styles, rhythms and so on. These make a great ending to another wonderful album from this legendary group.
Label: Hall Of Sermon