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Lacrimosa - Testimonium (2017) - Review

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Band: Lacrimosa
Album title: Testimonium
Release date: 25 August 2017
Label: Hall Of Sermon

Act 1:
01. Wenn unsere Helden sterben
02. Nach dem Sturm
Act 2:
03. Zwischen allen Stühlen
04. Weltenbrand
05. Lass die Nacht nicht über mich fallen
Act 3:
06. Herz und Verstand
07. Black Wedding Day
08. My Pain
Act 4:
09. Der leise Tod
10. Testimonium

The masters of dark symphonic music are back. Lacrimosa album number 13 holds a strong name, Testimonium, and it's nothing strange because the charismatic leader of Lacrimosa,Tilo Wolff, dedicated this album to the great artists who died in 2016 and gave him inspiration and sort of guidance in what he's doing on his artistical path. Testimonium is a requien in four acts in memory of David Bowie, Glen Frey (Eagles), Colin Verncomb aka Black, George Martin (The Beatles), Prince, Leonard Cohen, George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.

Lacrimosa is a powerhouse of everything releated to dark, gothic, classical, theatrical and symphonic in rock or metal music, there's no doubt about it. Lacrimosa reached the cult status long time ago and is of course a name that with every single release brings pleasant shivers into hearts of dark music lovers, every single new album is highly anticipated and until now the two, Tilo and Anne, never dissapointed. It's true that some albums are not such monumental works of art like others, but all in all, they made dozens of songs that are classics of the genre. Now we have a new album in front of us, and yes, it's monumental, it's another masterpiece, and even though it's a trademark Lacrimosa art it explores new grounds while it opens a new universum that builds upon elements taken from almost every single Lacrimosa release from before. So to say it right, Testimonium is yet another example of Lacrimosa grandiosity.

Testimonium sounds familiar, but yet is some kind of a culmination of everything that could be classified as gothic/symphonic metal, still the musical borders of Lacrimosa don't close just there, no, it goes into many directions and in a way it's inappropriate to make any definitions. Right after the opener "Wenn unsere Helden sterben", which works like some kind of an invitation into this theatre called Lacrimosa, we get one of the best songs they ever did, its name is "Nach dem Sturm". This is such a breathtaking piece of music based upon gothic metal that coincides with heavy doom guitar riffs and gets decorated with huge orchestral symphonic wall of sound. Such a nostalgic melody and such a captivatic demonic unmistakeable voice of Tilo are out of this space and time. Some might even hear similarities with the album Fassade and its three album titled parts at this point, and they ain't wrong.

The album continues in a glorius way and after the rather more sparkling and upbeat "Zwischen allen Stühlen", that has kind of vibe that reminds to a couple of songs from Elodia, one of the darkest, the most tumultuous things that Lacrimosa ever did since they become a duo awaits, its name is "Weltenbrand". A very strong song that goes into many direction, so far that it even reaches the borders of death metal, but still it has such an lugubrious orchestral part that it almost brings tears into eyes. Heavy as hell, sounding a bit like some stuff on their Revolution album, but done with another, new level of mastery. On this album there are plenty of heavy driving guitars, powerful bass lines, explosive drumming, but what also always enthuses is that gentle side of Lacrimosa and we get it with mournful and dramatic "Lass die Nacht nicht über mich fallen".

There's more of compositional grandeur in here, nicely driving melancholic rock of "Herz und Verstand" or heavy metal meets symphonic gothic rock of the amazing drama called "Black Wedding Day", a song where we can hear in the background also the gentle feminine but still very sensual and soothing dark voice of Anne Nurmi. Trully mesmerizing and it's almost unbeliveable how very alive and warm, despite all of the darkness, the songs of Lacrimosa are. The proper example is the catchy "My Pain", a song that couldn't be missed on a Lacrimosa album, with majority of female vocals, where Anne sounds very strong and maybe offers one of her best performances ever. The last act opens up with "Der leise Tod", rather mellow one, but yet it has some very intriguing guitar lines that nicely make an uverture into the epic album title song, the closing one, "Testimonium". Opening up with almost sludgy guitar lines that smoothly converges up into an atmospheric yet very melancholic sonic masterpiece

Testimonium in its four acts offers such a very dynamic sound and varied song structures, with each song brings diversities that you wouldn't imagine. Tilo is an artist of gothic symphonic music par exelence, one of the best composers of our time and being active with Lacrimosa for 27 years he made a real history of dark music of its own kind. Testimonium is another proof of his exelency, he can exceptionally well mix many different styles into one of a kind amalgam of dark melancholic music with unbeliveable twists. At one point we are drowned into a powerful crushing gothic symphonic metal, then there's a bit doom, some dark folk segments, and right after that the listener can enjoy in balladic piece with masterfully implemented classical orchestrations in it. Testimonium is one of the strongest albums in Lacrimosa discography, it has songs that could be enjoyed in your very own solitude with headphones on, as well songs that can work amazingly when played live, and I believe that some of these might become timeless classics on their already large repertoire of evergreen dark music hits.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 9,5/10