Lake Of Tears The Neonai

Despite some brightly coloured psychedelic artwork, Lake of Tears’ 2002 album (just reaching us here in Canada now) takes a slightly less trippy path than the one before it. There’s more electro-spiked goth rock on The Neonai, showing up in diversions like Sisters of Mercy-esque beats or more synthetic keyboard sounds. It really only feels like a minor shift though because this is still clearly Lake of Tears — Daniel Brennare’s distinctive voice leading the songs through the familiar winding of medieval meanderings, soothing Southern-ballad stylings, and (of course) a little emotion-drenched metal. Ravens and magic appear to be major lyrical and visual themes, as indicated by titles like "Return of Ravens,” which along with "Down the Nile,” happens to be one of the best tracks on the record. The Neonai seems to have been the work of a one-man operation — with Brennare enlisting guests for guitar, keyboards, and female vocals — but other than the programmed drums, the album does no injustice to Lake of Tears’ history as a complete band. (Black Mark)