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Lonesome October : In Search Of Lost Time

Moving from doomy to Doom, Lonesome October's sophomore brings autumnal melancholy to life.

It's been nearly a decade since Lonesome October's 2007 debut offering 'I And The Dusk', an atmospheric Dark Metal-Gothic Doom venture that probably stuck more to the former label than the latter. Now, founder (and also composer, lead vocalist, and keyboard player) Giampaul Andrianopolous returns, alongside a selection of guest musicians, with this second chapter of autumnal melancholy.

In some respects, it's very much a continuation of the same core values: the reasonably brief (sub-seven-minute) compositions centre around mid-tempo lilting melodies and passionately-intoned narrative tales, guitars taking precedence over a subtle keyboard presence, the overall mood one of gentle regrets and sadnesses. In others, it's a simple evolution: nothing ground-breaking or earth-shattering - a little more heaviness in the mix, a little more emphasis on the Doom side of the equation as far as the guitarwork and the harsh vocal contributions go. That's enough, though, to swing the balance from doomy-rather-than-Doom to the opposite: a statement made clear by the driving riff and grated vocals that open 'Dawnglow'. Sure, it's far from the most extreme introduction you'll hear this year (or perhaps even this week), but that's not remotely what Lonesome October are aiming for anyway. It is, however, a commitment to the genre: and one which sets the tone of the whole album - which pitches in somewhere between the Rock influences of Anathema's 'Eternity' and the Folk of 'A Wintersunset...'-era Empyrium. Adding its own slant to both of those, there's a certain Epic feel, particularly noticeable in the ballads like 'Bleak Farewell', or the heavier sections, such as the galloping climax of the highlight closer 'The Starfields'.

There are a couple of factors which really cement that impression: drums and clean vocals. The former tend to lope along at a fairly high tempo - frequently pitched high, and perhaps over-reliant on continuous cymbal - creating the impression of a faster, Metal, pace than most of the songs actually warrant. The vocals, whilst not overly histrionic, are nonetheless quite theatrical in their projection of emotional direction: unambiguously setting the mood in which each track needs to be appreciated, rather than inviting any sort of interpretation. And where they lead, the music follows, whether soft and sad or grandiose and soaring: quite unashamedly heart-on-sleeve.

It's this quality which gives the album much of its charm, possessing a similar accessibility and easy appreciability to a lot of Symphonic Gothic/Metal acts: polished, emotive, slick and melodic. Like the best examples of that genre, it conveys that without seeming contrived or excessively manipulative, and with some depth beneath the surface - in this instance, mainly supplied by the thoughtful lyrics, some excellent guitar, and the inclusion of some unobtrusive but effective sound effects and backing vocals. You could include the a capella harmonies of the brief interlude 'Grey Havens' as something out of the ordinary, though perhaps of variable appeal. Likewise, the mildly aggressive reworking of Cyndi Lauper's hit 'Time After Time', which drags on some way beyond what the poppy composition can really sustain.

In general, though, what you get here is a solid selection of atmospheric tracks, packing in a decent range and variety of motifs, and some catchily memorable tunes that are surprisingly hard to shake loose after hearing. Despite the odd harsh moment, it's unlikely to challenge you in any way - but it can certainly sweep you along with its enthusiasm. Not a soundtrack for the howling depths of winter, perhaps, but the deft balance of gloom and enjoyment makes for a pretty reasonable accompaniment to the damp grey days of spring and autumn.

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Reviewer's rating: 8/10


Tracklist :
1. Dawnglow
2. 1922
3. Bleak Farewell
4. Time After Time (Cyndi Lauper cover)
5. A Life So Bright
6. Ranger
7. Grey Havens
8. The Starfields

Duration : : Approx. 40 minutes

Visit the Lonesome October bandpage.

Reviewed on 2016-12-20 by Mike Liassides
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