"Black Brick Road" (Sanctuary/Noise; 2004)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Prior to listening to Lake Of Tears' 2004 release, "Black Brick Road," my only previous experience with Lake Of Tears has been with "Headstones" which was released in 1995 (which I didn't hear for the first time until 2002). 

I now realize that "Headstones" was the sophomore release for the band after a short three years of existence and it's impressive how good the band sounds at that point. To my ears, "Headstones" sounds a bit like early-era Tiamat or a slightly faster version of My Dying Bride. And this is not a surprising result given the fact that the members of Lake Of Tears had previously played in doom-death bands. 

Lake Of Tears has issued a number of albums between 1995 and 2002 and I'd not managed to hear a single one of them. So, no doubt, I believed I was in store for serious perception issues and most bands manage to change quite a bit over eight or so years. However, "Black Brick Road" is not so different from "Headstones" that one would think it was a different band.

My first few listens to "Black Brick Road" had me thinking the band has evolved in a more Amorphis-like career arc rather than a direct copy of Amorphis' evolution of sound. Subsequent listens haven't changed my thinking in this regard. Without a doubt Lake Of Tears are emphasizing a stronger gothic sound and tone with dark, supple melodies and slightly depressing yet somehow seductive songs that capture the listener's imagination. Toward the later half of the album I hear some Pink Floyd type of sounds especially in session lead guitarist Magnus Sahlgren's mournful solos. "Black Brick Road" manages to mix rock, gothic, and metal in a self-assured way that is easy on the ears, yet challenging and provoking in subtle ways.

I've seen many references to "Black Brick Road" being a comeback of sorts this apparently has something to do with label troubles and near-breakup back in 2002. I am blissfully ignorant of the band's history so it pleases me to say that "Black Brick Road," regardless of the band's recent past, evokes an image of Lake Of Tears as confident and comfortable with their present sound and style.

Had I heard "Black Brick Road" in 2004 when it was released I certainly would have, at a minimum, included "Black Brick Road" on my Honorable Mention" list for 2004's best albums. "Black Brick Road" is also given me serious reasons to searching out the band's back catalog and it's nice to say that about a band after a long stretch of not be inspired to do that after a long while. 

"Black Brick Road" was produced by Christian Silver and Lake Of Tears.

Lake Of Tears is Daniel Brennare on vocals and guitars, Mikael Larsson on bass, and Johan Oudhuis on drums. Session musicians include Magnus Sahlgren on lead guitar; Jorgen Cremonese on guitar, Dan Helgson on organ; and Stina Rebelius and Ulrika Silver on vocals.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2005 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 28 Nov 2021 13:23:27 -0500.