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Terra Relicta Top 20 Of 2017



01. Au Champ Des Morts
- Dans La Joie
02. Peter Bjärgö
- Animus Retinentia
03. Phallus Dei
- Black Dawn
04. Saille
- Gnosis
05. Black Anvil
- As Was
06. Heretoir
- The Circle
07. Last Leaf Down
- Bright Wide Colder
08. Bitterfeldt
- Götzen.Dämmerung
09. Elegi
- Bånsull
10. Isenordal
- Shores Of Mourning

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Lacrimosa - Hoffnung (2015) - Review

Band: Lacrimosa
Album title: Hoffnung
Release date: 6 November 2015
Label: Hall Of Sermon

Tracklist:
01. Mondfeuer
02. Kaleidoskop
03. Unterwelt
04. Die Unbekannte Farbe
05. Der Kelch Der Hoffnung
06. Thunder And Lightning
07. Tränen Der Liebe
08. Der Freie Fall - Apeiron, Part 1
09. Keiner Schatten Mehr
10. Apeiron - Der Freie Fall, Part 2

The beautiful sonic architecture of gothic and symphonic metal, thy name is Lacrimosa. With celebrating 25 years of the formation of this wondrous and astonishing musical act, Hoffnung does not only get credit for being a celebratory album in a way, but also deserves all the praise for bringing yet again the mournful and profound soundscapes we all came to love and adore with albums such as Elodia, Fassade and Echos. I daresay Lacrimosa is one of the last few original, inspirational and quality bands from the golden days of gothic metal still standing proud and ongoing, as the duet of Tilo Wolff and Anne Nurmi keeps surprising, with how seemingly effortless they have stayed true to their well-established posture, but at the same time have always managed to expand their signature sound and breathe life into something new and mesmerizing. And so after a bit more stripped down albums Sehnsucht and Revolution, there came Hoffnung and took us on a wild, yet incredibly dark trip down the memory lane.

There is no news 1997 album Stille born a new era of Lacrimosa's sound, pushing the already beautifully obscure melodies even further with an addition of luscious and ravishing symphonic parts, which only emphasized the theatrical and wonderful ambiances only Lacrimosa can execute in perfection. And as their previous two efforts were a bit rawer, Hoffnung again features an addition of 60 piece orchestra, bringing us the vivid and emotional melodies we all crave and yearn for. The opening "Mondfeuer" is nothing less than grand opening per excellence; a 15 minute lasting, grandeur track, which opens with rich orchestrations and slowly shapes itself through a vortex of dynamic changes. The mournfully sounding symphonic beginning of the song escalates profoundly with the addition of powerful guitar arrangements, which shift from sounding sorrowful as they accompany the atmosphere, portrayed by the orchestrations and then bursts into more aggressive waters, as Lacrimosa never lets us forget that in the core they still are a gothic metal band. The strong rhythm section then intensifies the ambient even deeper and throughout the song this truly magnificent sound develops without leaving you cold.  The following "Kaleidoscope" continues on a similar note, not leaving anything behind, again bringing together the intertwining feel of despair and anger, partially also brought to the listener through an interesting vocal play between Anne’s hypnotizing voice and Tilo’s demonic side. "Unterwelt" delivers a nice surprise and a flashback to the days of Stille, as its beginning is suspiciously similar to the opening of "Siehst Du Mich Im Licht?" and the track's ambiance flows in a slightly more perilous and twisted manner. The ever present aestheticism of despair and romantic pain, almost clinging into pathological aching, shines in "Die Unbekannte Farbe" - a song, which will eat your soul in a blink of an eye, as it truly is the crown jewel of Hoffnung. Tilo simply excelled in interpreting this already lamentable and woeful little masterpiece, driven by a powerful piano tune, with his bemoaning vocals and proved us again he is simply a beautiful mind when it comes to composing and executing a true gothic metal music art. Similarly, lugubrious and agonizing "Tränen Der Liebe" will also fill your heart with an enormous dose of grieving sensations. I must also not forget to mention Anne's input on this album, as she simply shines in a playful "Thunder And Lightning". The theatrical and dramatic grandeur soundscapes are also present in "Der Freie Fall – Apeiron, Pt. 1" and its sequel, the closing epopee "Apeiron – Der Freie Fall, Pt. 2". Whereas Hoffnung starts, it also ends – shining it all its majestic glory and hypnotizing heart sickness. The only downside between both parts is the position of "Keine Schatten Mehr", as it unintentionally breaks the flow between both songs and would bring so much more to the album if it was placed before "Der Freie Fall – Apeiron, Pt". 1 and thus brings the dynamics of the album down a little bit.

Needless to say though, I always have and always will claim that Tilo Wolff is the one true king of gothic metal and he proved us all that while  a quarter of century passed since he formed Lacrimosa, his immense talent and dedication are anything but long gone. He is simply brilliant in what he does, whether it comes to composing, lyrics writing or interpreting his story through singing. There are moments when his voice will give you a feel he is creeping into your mind like a menacing demon and others, when he'll take you into the forlorn world of never forgotten dreams and memories. He will awake your deepest fears and most painful memories, playing on your most fragile heartstrings, yet make you feel so alive. Lacrimosa still has it all and is still here to portray the beauty of passion, misery, rage and wickedness. Hoffnung surely will more than please the devoted fan base of this unique musical act. There still is hope (Die Hoffnung).

Review written by: Ines
Rating: 9/10

Recommended by Terra Relicta

Band: Shibalba
Album title: Samsara
Release date: 22 December 2015
Label: Malignant Records

Shibalba return with Samsara, a magnificent offering to the gods and their first on Malignant Records. Their special brand of ritual dark ambient is an invocation of the highest order. Great halls filled with worshipers and priestly hooded figures are brought to mind. Ancient structures of dilapidated stone-works surround the congregation as they chant their prayers and pound their drums. This experience is something of a meditation for the listener, giving us a channel into the depths of our own inner gods and demons. Shibalba perform a rite which is larger than life, a worthy soundtrack for the gods as they manipulate our every movement here on Earth. Samsara is a deeply moving experience. Shibalba have obviously taken every precaution in piecing together this ritual.

Read a full review HERE