German gothic metal crew, Lacrimas Profundere, are heroes in their home country and one of the best-known groups to emerge from the early 1990s in the wake of Paradise Lost’s runaway success on the European continent with 1993’s Icon LP. Like Crematory, their name remains obscure outside the European mainland, including the UK, where this type of music originated. Now on their thirteenth album, only lead guitarist, Oliver Nikolas Schmid, remains from their 1995 debut, yet it seems that he left his riffs in the studio for How to Shroud Yourself with Night. This record is more predictable than a wet November in northern England.
Lacrimas Profundere started as a fierce gothic death-doom band in 1993 and began their descent into bland rock as early as 2002’s Fall, I Will Follow. Sometimes, this worked for them, as evidenced by the success of 2006’s Filthy Notes for Frozen Hearts. Other times it backfired, as with 2008’s Songs for the Last View. 2019’s Bleeding the Stars saw something of a return to the harsher side of their music, and they retain some of that urgency here with album opener, ‘Wall of Gloom’, which starts with heavy vibrato guitars and a doom metal tempo. Vocalist Julian Larre slithers through the song like Tom G. Warrior on Celtic Frost’s ‘Mesmerised’, the 1987 song that invented gothic metal. Listen to drummer, Dominik Scholz, plug the gaps between kick drum and snare with a succession of rack tom patterns. You can hear the fortitude and resilience of Paradise Lost in the mix, yet your fists clench ready to taste the triumph of an underdog victory. An album full of songs like this would be most welcome.
The problem here is not the quality of the arrangements but the quality of the guitar work. Schmid seems content with adding these as the last component of the mix, which often means ringing power chords to accent the vocal lines. ‘A Cloak Woven of Stars’ and ‘In a Lengthening Shadow’ leave no impression after three attempts, a bit like a bowl of cornflakes with no sugar. If you’re going to draw inspiration from Paradise Lost, at least choose an era outside their disastrous 1999-2005 period when they were nothing more than a corporate rock band pretending to be Depeche Mode. ‘The Curtain of White Silence’ and ‘The Vastness of Infinity’ seem content to stay in 2003 when the likes of HIM and The Rasmus tasted mainstream success with an anodyne interpretation of gothic rock. Only one word can describe these two efforts – dull. The same thing applies to ‘An Invisible Beginning’, which takes Sisters of Mercy for its inspiration only to strip that band of their melodrama and box the song into a lazy formula for mainstream radio.
You’ll struggle to find many highlights on this forgettable collection of ten songs. ‘Nebula’ experiments with a shakier voice and delivers a memorable chorus, and ‘Unseen’ tries to widen the palette with gothic keyboard samples and animated vocal roars. Yet both fizzle out like a sparkler at a child’s birthday party.
Perhaps the only choice on the next record is to turn Lacrimas Profundere into a djent band, unless industrial metal becomes fashionable again. They need to do something to escape the monotony of their gothic rock pastiche before it’s too late.
Release Date: 26/08/2022
Record Label: Steamhammer
Standout tracks: Wall of Gloom, Unseen, An Invisible Beginning
Suggested Further Listening: HIM – Razorblade Romance (2000), Paradise Lost – Paradise Lost (2005), Crematory – Inglorious Darkness (2022)