The gothic metal institution of Lacrimas Profundere has been something of a moving feast, with regular line-up changes introducing new elements to the band, while also being made with the intention of preserving others. The one constant throughout it all has been founding member and guitarist Oliver Schmid, who teams up with vocalist Julian Larre and drummer Dominik Scholz for a triumphant return in ‘Bleeding the Stars’.
The album begins with the low and moody guitars of I Knew and will Forever Know, with synths forming a distant, haunting backing. Larre’s vocal style cuts through distinctively, with his cleans falling somewhere between Robert Smith of The Cure and Joe Romersa, best known for the chilling end credit songs of various Silent Hill games. Overall, this song does have something of the old doom metal vibe, seeming to nod to early Anathema amongst other influences. While deeply mournful, the song does reach into depths of bass-driven heaviness, and finds ways to make the sense of anguish truly melodic.
The vibe changes dramatically with Celestite Woman, a faster and more upbeat goth ‘n’ roll track in the style of The 69 Eyes. The pumping bassline combined with HIM-like vocal harmonies make Celestite Woman a likely contender for gothic nightclubs around the world, probably for years to come.
The mood shifts again to a gentler, more contemplative space with The Kingdom Solicitude, notable for its flourishing backdrop of lilting keys. The beat is somewhat reminiscent of modern Katatonia, around the era of ‘Night is the New Day.’ The song packs a surprising punch however, with heavy guitars and harsh vocals kicking in for the chorus. Moreover, there is a beautifully understated interplay between the bass and Scholz’ drums that really carries the song’s momentum forward.
There is a sense of moody restraint about the Gothic love song to melancholy, Mother of Doom. Old fans of HIM looking for something heavier will not be disappointed by this track. While Larre always exudes class, here Scholz is a stand-out again, with his drums constantly hinting at the underlying drama, even in the quieter sections of the song.
By contrast, Father of Fate is crunchy and fast, with some lovely keyboards rounding out the backdrop. Beyond goth rock, this is pure gothic metal that carries a bit of a nod to Paradise Lost in its energy.
Arguably the heaviest track however, and certainly the most funereal, is Like Screams in Empty Halls. Here Larre takes on flatter, more depressive tones, before gradually exposing total anguish. This song could fairly be described as apocalyptic, with a true sense that the world is collapsing around it carrying through the pounding, seismic drums.
The mournfulness continues in the slower The Reaper, which has some beguilingly gentle moments amongst the still crunchy guitars. The heaviness kicks back in with After All those Infinities, though this is offset by the beautiful use of a piano melody alongside the guitars. Interestingly, the chorus slides into an almost industrial feel, though the vocals could almost convince you that Ville Valo was in the room.
A Sip of Multiverse is one of the stand-out tracks for Larre, truly highlighting his compelling vocal ability. Not to be outdone, Schmid brings one of his best moments on the album with the soulful guitar bridge in what is otherwise very much a vocal and bass-driven track.
The album winds up with A Sleeping Throne, another track that seems to draw on some elements of Anathema before moving into a heavier space that the latter have long since abandoned.
Overall, ‘Bleeding the Stars’ is a well-rounded excursion into funereal doom, melancholia, and pounding goth ‘n’ roll. Lacrimas Profundere’s versatility in drawing such a diversity of sound and emotion from their music cannot be overstated. While somewhat wearing their influences on their sleeve, they breathe new life into those elements that write a compelling chapter in the history of gothic heavy music.
LACRIMAS PROFUNDERE’S ‘BLEEDING THE STARS’ WILL BE RELEASED JULY 26. PRE-ORDER FROM STEAMHAMMER HERE.