Sweden's LAKE OF TEARS has gradually evolved over the past decade or so from a Melodic Death Metal act to a Symphonic Gothic Rock one. Their fifth (and last) masterpiece, "The Neonai", is worthy of being compared to their best, "Forever Autumn" and "A Crimson Cosmos." This time around, they've gone for a more up-tempo and symphonic recording but still retain that familiar LAKE OF TEARS depressing lyrics and sorrowful melodies.
As soon as you hear the voice, you know it's LAKE OF TEARS. Daniel Brennare will never win a "Best Vocal Performance" at the Grammys, but I doubt this band would have been better if it were someone other than him singing. He's not equipped with an awesome voice, but the vocal melodies he comes up with are just damn catchy! The music is still simplistic just like the lyrics. The second song, "Return Of The Ravens," sort of made me laugh at first because the drums had this rhythmic tune reminiscent of 80's pop music when the drums originated from the keyboardists. After that initial awkwardness, it was time to enjoy this swansong.
The next two songs are my album favourites because they summarize the best of the band's past. "The Shadowshires" could've been included in the first half of their discography. It's more guitar-oriented and faster than the other songs, while "Solitude" takes me back to the sadness and sorrow of their previous album, "Forever Autumn." "Nathalie And The Fireflies" definitely reminds me of 80's Pop/Rock. Just listen to the guitar at the beginning and the drums and bass throughout the entire song. It sounds weird at first, but it grows on you - just like the rest of the album. The last song tells you this is the end as it contains selections from their previous albums which narrates their past glory.
"The Neonai" is an appropriate end to a great band's career. It's not disappointing at all - but if it were any better, I'd be even sadder about writing this review! (Online November 13, 2002)