The 11th Hour – Lacrima Mortis

The 11th Hour

Lacrima Mortis

01. We All Die Alone
02. Rain on Me
03. The Death of Life
04. Tears of the Bereaved
05. Reunion Illusion
06. Nothing but Pain
07. Bury Me

[02/07/12]
[Napalm Records]

Lacrima Mortis is the sophomore release from the doom/melodic death metal band The 11th Hour. In one of my recent reviews I briefly mentioned the stagnation that can be felt in this genre, and I chose Swallow the Sun as an example that wasn’t quite an exception, but with music as good as theirs I felt it was okay to forgive their lack of innovation. Unfortunately for The 11th Hour, Lacrima Mortis falls on the other side of the spectrum.

Lacrima Mortis trudges along at a snails pace, and if you were one who listened to their debut, Burden of Grief, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. It’s one of the defining characteristics of this genre; slow, methodical, melancholic riffs that drive into the listener’s being and evoke one of any number of assorted emotions; apprehension, depression, or something equally as negative and at the same time welcomed. It’s the sort of music you listen to while watching the rain or snow falling through the air and pummeling the ground. It’s bleak stuff.

Well, that’s the intended effect anyway, and the debut album did evoke this sort of response from me, but Lacrima Mortis feels far too…dishonest. It feels phoned in and less realistic to me as a listener. Everything feels too distant and murky. It’s sludgy, but not in the way you hope a doom metal album will be. It sounds watery, as opposed to thick, dissonant, and dark. This seems to be a problem with the production, but the music doesn’t sound all that great in general. It’s not overtly bad, but it’s not great or exceptional by any means. One of the most annoying aspects of this record is that for some strange reason there’s a sample of some woman pretending to cry that literally caused me to do a sort of double take. I understand that they were trying to create a sense of depth for the story they were telling, but it just comes across as cheesy, and well — embarrassing. It could have been implemented well, but it wasn’t.

Now that’s not to say the album is entirely bad. I did enjoy the dual take on the vocals, similar to the band’s debut. Ed Warby’s clean vocals really strike a chord with me, and they sound authentic and filled with emotion. The growls, courtesy of Pim Blankenstein, are also equally emotive and powerful. They’re not as strong as Rogga Johanssons from Burden of Grief, but they get the job done. I also really liked the flow of the album; even though a lot of it felt cheesy, I was interested in the story for a little bit, I just wished it had been handled in a different fashion.

Overall, Lacrima Mortis is a disappointing sequel to an astounding debut. I’ve never been one to believe in the sophomore slump, and Ed Warby has never given me any reason to doubt his skills as a musician, but Lacrima Mortis just doesn’t do it for me. It’s shame to see it end this way, as I was truly excited for this, and followed its coverage fairly extensively in my own time, but I have to say…

The 11th Hour – Lacrima Morits gets:

2/5

– EC

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