Lacrimosa

Picture of Lacrimosa

Elodia

Lacrimosa - Elodia ©1999 Hall Of Sermon GmbH
1. Am Ende Der Stille
2. Alleine Zu Zweit
3. Halt Mich
4. The Turning Point
5. Ich Verlasse Heut' Dein Herz
6. Dich Zu Töten Fiel Mir Schwer
7. Sanctus
8. Am Ende Stehen Wir Zwei

More often than not, a songwriter/composer's place in the music pecking-order is determined by diverse superficialities such as the artist's image and prime demographic, with the music itself becoming secondary in importance. Mere association with the likes of Mortician and Cannibal Corpse has led to the undeserved ostracizing of more than a few bands, their talent largely destined to obscurity. This is the case with Arcturus, Solefald, and arguably Naked City. This is the case with Lacrimosa.

Listening to Elodia, one becomes conscious of the sheer artificiality of grouping music into genres, particularly when an artistic inequality is assumed to exist between them. The imagery ostensibly suggests gothic music, although Lacrimosa's music is much more akin to Mozart than say, The Sisters of Mercy. No doubt, the presence of the London Symphony and other orchestras on songs like "An Ende der Stille" has much to do with this. Choosing Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as the object of comparison was not a haphazard decision on my part; Lacrimosa's (I should say Tilo Wolff's) music is very derivative of Mozart's, in that melody, color, and decisive tonal cadences play a prominent role throughout. Nowhere are the similarities more apparent than in "An Ende der Stille" a brilliant, fully orchestrated, mostly instrumental opener that runs the musical sweep of emotions from majestic horns to tense clarinet lines. Triple and compound metrical patterns are also sparingly employed; a nice change of course from the more common duple meter. Though "Alleine zu Zweit" falls more in the realm of gothic rock than classical music, you still have plenty of beautiful instrumental embellishments. This duet features some nice, impassioned vocal interplay and harmonizing between Wolff and his partner, Anne Nurmi, though their technique can be exasperating at times. The singing is probably the only blemish on Elodia in my opinion, but it is a weakness nonetheless. Yet what they give up by way of lack of method, they gain in honest, exuberant emotion. "Halt Mich" begins agreeably enough, the strings and flutes playing delightful, innocent melodies that before long swell to a violent amalgamation of classical instruments, distorted guitars, screams, and percussion. Tilo Wolff sings here. Anne seizes the microphone for "The Turning Point," the only song in Elodia sung in English. She has a very striking accent, one that curiously enough gives the song a unique, romantic flavor. As with most other songs on this album, purely classical orchestration gives way to a heavy metal hybrid sound as the music moves forward. Opening with a mere piano and bass, "Ich Verlasse Heut' Dein Herz" begins softly and peaceably before settling into a jazzy lead guitar section. The song runs full circle, ending with the same piano and bass lines. "Dich Zu Töten Fiel Mir Schwer" is a harsher, more aggressive track, reminiscent of Rammstein, with some fiendishly wicked male and female vocals. Again, the vocal technique may be wanting, but the enthusiasm is undeniably strong. Excerpts of "Sanctus" could easily have been part of a movement from Mozart's Requiem Mass. A choral piece for the most part, "Sanctus" (like the other songs) has some gothic rock/metal moments here and there. Clocking in at over fourteen minutes, it is by far the longest track on Elodia. The album concludes fittingly with a quiet, spiritual choral piece, "Am Ende Stehen Wir Zwei".

The lyrics are of a very personal nature, touching on themes of romance and a love doomed to fail. Lacrimosa were kind enough to provide English translations to the principally German text, so that us non-Krauts would not be left out in the cold. Simply put, this Elodia is a neoclassical gothic metal masterpiece and one of the very best albums of 1999. And you can quote me on that.

Review by Jeffrey Shyu

Review date: 03/2000

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