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Don't be fooled by Lacrimosa's goth rock reputation -- after all, how many goth bands would open an album with a 13-minute orchestral overture? Not many. But while it is a bold move, it proves that this long-running Swiss duo (and its audience) is utterly confident in its own vision, which transcends genre conventions. Aside from said opener (the entirely orchestral/choral "Kyrie"), the rest of the album successfully marries rock elements with symphonic instrumentation and manages to remain varied and interesting to the end. Mastermind Tilo Wolff and his partner, Anne Nurmi, use subtlety rather than bombast (a regular pitfall for goth bands) to deliver their soaring, emotional epics like the elegant, Cocteau Twins-esque "Apart" (the only track to feature lead vocals by Nurmi) and the delightful "Malina" (sung by Wolff), which combines a pulsing hard rock backbeat with ornate harpsichord arpeggios. Meanwhile, occasional electronic drum programming gives the record a modern edge that offsets its Baroque leanings. One criticism: Nurmi should be given more leads!

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