It’s a perfect day for celebration! It seems not so long ago you used to scratch out on the desk the logo of your favourite team, copying it from the title of the album – and today, while you were sneaking around, graduating universities, looking for the job, making the world better and cleaner – this very team has a considerable anniversary! So, quite unpredictably, this year we celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Swedish legendary natural philosophers of melancholic heavy metal – The Lake of Tears. I suppose that musicians themselves would hardly remember the birth date of the team, but in default autumn is the best season for jubilee. And the tribute album definitely would be the most wanted present.
The traditions of tribute albums in Russia were not successful from the start. Each time I shudder, remembering miserable “Moskvalika”, I’m puzzled reviving in my memory tribute to Aria. And now – The Lake of Tears! Who even dared to do that! The formal Russian funclub dared – and I have to admit that these people were not only enthusiastic, they’ve showed convincing professionalism, picking up together 26 (twenty six) tracks from Russian, Ukrainian, Swedish, Mexican and Swiss bands. There were much more participants, who left the project after all, including Cemetery, but it is already discussed behind the scenes. What are the main features of the tribute album? The songs included you can divide into three types: sung note for the note (“because we love the team”), sung in the own way (“because we love the team, but we were able to do it so”) and sung somehow (“it happened”). This dividing is optional, but it is true, you have to agree. Yes, you have!
So, “The Twenty Years in Tears” consists of two parts. Songs are represented chronologically., thereby the album begins with compositions from significant death doom “Greater Art”, and ends with the track from progressive opus “Illwill”. To be honest, there is a bonus track, but more on that later. As you understand, there was no way for teams, performing death doom, to realize their own ideas – stylistic borderlines of “Greater Art” don’t allow that. However, neither Atra Hora, nor Sacratus, who performed unalterable “Under the Crescent” and “Upon The Highest Mountain” practically without changes, have not disappointed. Grobut Neerg produced a real delight, reanimating the most driving track – “As Daylight Yields” – in origin it is not rough, clear and hard enough. But our compatriots added all of these ingredients, not exaggerating though. Adfail have resung “Evil Inside” in more wicked way – respect to the vocalist, the instrumental part has no changes, rather than reproaches, you can’t spoil porridge with butter. Aglarond (here comes Mexica) has added gothic apropos to “Tears” – you can hear piano, violins, keyboard arrangements, I can’t remember the original density of all this, but they were all on their places. Resuming, covers for “Greater Art” came out equally good, may be the reason is, that in 1994 the original songs were not produced ideally. It was a surprise to meet Menthal House from Moscow (recently cameback the almost contemporaries of The Lake of Tears, founded in 1993), who has demonstrated the creativity as it is. The cult song “RavenLand” has resounded in russian, but this version is close to the original, not copying it, it is called “artistic translation”. The temp of composition became vivid, and the sharp vocal typical to Menthal House, has added a real darkness to the mood of the song. The ukranian Tectum has performed “Dreamdemons” without making unwanted faces, it turned out half-baked bur cordial. The capital track “Headstones” was undertaken by Hexentraum, and they justified all hopes, making that step! The song sounded in a “folk” way, because of the vocalist, but the main discovery became the accordion, surprisingly good in new arrangement. Zerokarma sends regards from the Far East with the canonical hit “Burn Fire Burn”, fresh and striking, but I have always run through that song. Dominian from St.Petersburg were very facetiously in performing their part. Known by their concert hit “Mountains of God’s Depression”, they were logical in performing “The Path Of The Gods” (Upon The Highest Mountain II), but this song, with strong vocal in origin, sounded chilly, even considering the violin, which made all the other instruments sound colourless. Satanation has almost made a sacrilege, but after all their version of “Cosmic Weed”, seriously mutated, sounds hardly recognizable, but very attractive because of the excellent female vocal, and somebody may like the melodic death-final. The first part of the tribute is finished with Tartharia, who prepared “Devil’s Dinner” in the most irrecognizable way, putting the hard sound to the rock’n’roll dance hit, the result is confusing in my opinion, but the death metal fans may not agree with me.
The second CD begins with the resung ”Four Strings Of The Morning” – played by finns Awake In Shades, they gathered together to make this only song, and, honestly, their cover hasn’t touched me – the vocal is too smooth. Mexican Aglarond has performed two tracks for release, and the second one – “Raistling And The Rose” sounds as tragic and oppressive, as the original song. Draconian и Doom: VS has made “Hold on Tight” in the performance of Shadowgarden, their rather new project, you can’t tell it from the origyn, and I’m satisfied with it. Inside You (Istra), who formerly followed the lead of german pop-team Crematory, has spoiled the title song “Forever Autumn” – the instrumental part is brilliant, but the vocalist might not listened to himself, and it is quite regrettable. By the way, Draconian not only presented the abovementioned project, they personally in their special way as much as possible overloaded “Demon You / Lilly Ann”. Those Swede has made a significant doom-monument from the second-rate song, and they knew what they have done, believe me. “All-stars” pagan thrash / death metal team “Put’ Solntsa” (Sun Path) has humiliated the “Return of the Ravens”, completely changing it for their own purposes, well, if they had fun, I’m glad… The compatriots of the celebrators who appeared on the Swedish stage in 1989 – The Equinox Ov Gods have performed two compositions at once. Their version of “Let Us Go As They Do” is ideal, full of absolute gloom of the other world, Fredrik Wallin’s assistants have always been successful in expressing it. In addition, musicians have completely demonized “Planet Of The Penguins” – in their peculiar manner – cheerlessly, hard, oppressively. The members of gothic doom formation – Bessech – are known today as The Mary Major, and I’m so grateful for their version of “The Greymen” – it became more energetic, emotions are hot at their most, and this interchange of splendid female vocal (Lotta, thank you very much, you’re the best, Lotta!) with hardcore male vocal – it sounds great! “Black Brick Road” is not among my favourite albums, but I have an intension to listen it again to refresh “Dystopia” in my mind, because Swiss Xicon produced a modern hit for dark electro dancings out of it. Handful of Stars (Ukraine) have started on a merry note (their “Sister Sinister” was tempting from the first accords), but finished on a sad one – the chorus was accompanied with unsuitable thrash and jeer, only wilful Hammond is on his place. The bastard-rockers Egonaut appear twice in the album (if I understood correctly, they have a guitarist from The Lake of Tears) – “Children Of The Gray” sounds positively sharp and forceful, and a new one for me “Floating In Darkness” reminds the alternative teams of the 90-s with its anarchy and aggression. However, I’ve mentioned the bonus-track, released separately, it is the vigorous “heavy metal / drum’n’bass” version of “Burn Fire Burn”, performed by Kaliningrad team Type V Blood. They made it with all responsibility, smart and professionalism, so I have to listen the new edit again and again. Respect to the vocalist – his voice fits the mood of the song, its metal character best. I’m so happy with this surprise, and glad to hear this track on the album. It was a good idea not to produce “Twenty Years In Tears” on the cartridge, in this case I would spoil it very soon.
So, I was not sure, that all twenty and a half tracks of “Twenty Years In Tears” turn out great and admirable. To tell the truth, the last albums of The Lake of Tears have not so many hits at all. Nevertheless I consider this tribute is successful. More than a half of teams have performed really interesting versions, the release has a great design, considerable efforts were applied to produce it. It’s much more preferable than to get another “greatest hits album”. So my best regards to all the participants and best wishes to The Lake of Tears!