~reviewed by Eric Rasmussen

Classical music exists today, but its power has largely diminished. The airwaves are polluted with all manner of pop nonsense, and typically we only get to hear modern orchestral scores in movies. A handful of bands have attempted to employ real orchestras in their music, but I've missed a truly classical approach. Lacrimosa's latest album sates my desire so fully that I'm still hitting myself on the head for not listening to them sooner. Regarded as one of the most popular goth acts around, Tilo Wolff and Anne Nurmi are brilliant songwriters that cannot be overlooked. If you've yet to fall under the Lacrimosa spell, now's the time to do it, get Echos!

Now that I've got what should have been my conclusion out of the way, maybe I should explain what makes Echos so brilliant. For starters, it opens with a 13-minute classical overture. The composition takes the listener on an emotional journey that hints at what's to come throughout the album. The music has a very moody feeling, in that it simply breathes emotion. I knew I was listening to something extraordinary when I heard the opener. There are many bands that allow for a classical influence, but they often hold back from exploring it fully. Lacrimosa successfully mix beautiful gothic rock with full-on, no holds-barred classical compositions. And those symphonic elements give Echos an enormous amount of depth.

This is an extremely refreshing change of pace from bands that write a song, toss in a hurried violin section, and talk about how they like to listen to Bach in their spare time. However, while I would argue that Echos is as much a classical album as anything else, the orchestral accompaniment is present to varying degrees. Lacrimosa's goth rock styled tracks feature beautiful thematic solos, soothing bass lines, and excellent melodic vocals by both Wolff and Nurmi. Each singer contributes a unique feel to the music, and the production allows them to be heard clearly - even in songs with guitars, drums, and an orchestra.

In "Sacrifice," an emotive bass line and beat start the song off, as it builds and falls for a full 9 minutes. "Apart" has a much darker sound, courtesy of Anne Nurmi's singing, and the string section in "Malina" features a strong rhythm that could almost be a tango. There isn't a single sound that feels wasted. While I am only marginally familiar with past Lacrimosa music, I get the impression that Echos is the band's most ambitious, demanding, and compositionally complete work to date. Other songs move through lamenting atmospheres with haunting vocals, slightly harder rock sections, and deep emotional reflection. This is a CD about communication, and Lacrimosa have mastered their tools. If you have any taste for classical, goth, or rock music, you absolutely must get this album.

Track List:
1) Kyrie (12:42) - Overture
2) Durch Nacht und Flut (6:03) - Suche Part 1
3) Sacrifice (9:28) - Hingabe Part 1
4) Apart (4:16) - Bittruf Part 1
5) Ein Hauch von Menschlichkeit (5:05) - Suche Part 2
6) Eine Nacht in Ewigkeit (5:52) - Hingabe Part 2
7) Malina (4:48) - Bittruf Part 2
8) Die Schreie sind verstummt (12:42) - Requiem für drei Gamben und Klavier

Lacrimosa is:
Tilo Wolff: piano, vocals, programming
Anne Nurmi: vocals, keyboards
Jay P.: guitar, bass
Sascha Gerbig: guitar
Manne Uhlig: drums
AC: drums

Lacrimosa - Official Site:

Nuclear Blast Records: