Starting an album with a nineteen minute song might be an unexpected start, unless you are familiar with Angellore, whom just released their third album in their thirteen years of existence. 10+ minute songs seem to be rather normal for the band, since their second album.
This first song, A Romance of Thorns, displays everything the band can do; atmospheric, instrumental structures, harsh, rasping vocals, clean male vocals and, a new addition to the band, the female vocals by Lucia. On the band pictures Lucia takes a central position, yet musically her voice is not a central power. Especially during the first song, her rather frail voice sounds out of place, during a half spoken half sung part towards the end, you really have to listen very well to hear her at all. Also the combination of all the different types of voices does not always work very well. Sometimes less seems to be more.
Although I tend to write the critical parts first… there is a lot of beauty on this album after the first song. Dreams (Along the Trail) displays the great combination of flute and harsh vocals and gives room to a nice use of guitar, giving the song a memorable place on the album.
Drowned Devine starts great and brutal, but by times has the same trouble as the opening song. Voices do not mix well, or seem slightly out of tone.
Blood for Lavinia, is an interesting one; not a metal song, but almost an ode to Sisters of Mercy and the likes. The clean male voice fits perfect to this catchy, bass-driven song.
Followed by instrumental song Sur les Sentiers de Lune, a perfect atmospheric piece, great to put on repeat for some time.
Also closing song Que les Lueurs se dispersent makes great use of the long time to build up. The clean vocals again fit very well and here it works good in harmony with the female vocals. I do wonder why the violin from the keyboard sounds so shrieking?
The album is a fair way to get to know the band, yet on the previous albums the band sounds more self-confident. Maybe the band was more at ease at previous times, while sounding a bit more cautious and uncertain, almost as much as Lucia’s voice, with this complex new album. With a little less pretention and a bit more confidence the album would be great. Now it is a nice, mediocre album. A fair listen, but not worth a medal.