(Today, NCS reader/commenter KevinP review Lacrima Mortis, the new album by The 11th Hour, which is being released today in the U.S. The album was written, performed, and produced by Ed Warby (Gorefest, Hail of Bullets), with harsh vocals provided by Pim Blankenstein of Officium Triste.)
I’ll admit to being a Warby Weenie. I love Gorefest as well as Hail of Bullets, so I followed the production process of this album (via Facebook) more than any other album before. I was naturally excited for its release, but also a bit worried, as I had hyped it up in my mind. Most albums never quite match my expectations and they seem like a letdown initially. I’m happy to say this is one of those rare instances where the hype was exceeded.
What you get here is 52 minutes of doomy death metal across 7 tracks, filled with clean and harsh vocals, soulful piano melodies, along with some (dare I say) uplifting guitar riffs. It does everything the first album did and improves upon it 10-fold. This is the way you want a band to improve: Stay true to their sound and keep polishing and refining. Frankly, this album is so stunning, I have no idea where they go from here. It will be a daunting task to follow up.
I can’t pinpoint any specific song over the others, as the entire album is so strong, everything about it just works and falls into place. And if I sound overly “gaga” about this, I AM. I don’t find many doomy death records you can just put on over and over again and enjoy this much.
Ed Warby’s clean vocals are a breath of fresh air, without being all that different or overly remarkable. They just work perfectly. The same can be said of Pim’s Blankenstein’s harsh vocals. Rogga Johansson was a fine growler (on the first album), but having Pim’s voice on this just gives it that extra new feeling of someone we don’t hear enough of. I’m sure this will only help as a carryover to the live performance, which Pim has been handling since the debut album.
What I feel is the true brilliance of this record is that it caters to many types of listeners, without compromising what it is or feeling the least bit forced. If you like death, doom, or atmospheric heavy metal, there’s something for you. No one element seems to overstay its welcome. Unless you are a hardcore Nightwish or Nile fan and won’t listen to anything else, almost any metalhead should find something they like. Lacrima Mortis doesn’t break any new barriers, nor try to, yet it doesn’t really sound like anyone else in the genre either.
You also won’t find a better sounding album this year. Everything has a wonderfully earthy clarity to and retains all the doomy heaviness you could imagine. It sounds expertly crafted and meticulously gone over with a fine tooth comb, while retaining a very natural vibe. It doesn’t reek as too polished and run through a computer 7 million times. No small feat indeed.
You can just feel how personal this is for Ed. It comes across not just in his vocals, but in the interplay between all the elements. We know these solo projects are always done for personal satisfaction. But this feels so genuine and cathartic it’s hard not to get sucked into it all.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Lacrima Mortis is being released today in the U.S. by Napalm Records. It’s available as a CD through Napalm’s store and at other fine retailers, and you can download it at Amazon mp3. For more information about The 11th Hour, visit their Facebook page here.
“Tears of the Bereaved”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/The-11th-Hour-Lacrima-Mortis-Doom-Metal-04-Tears-Of-The-Bereaved.mp3|titles=The 11th Hour – Tears Of The Bereaved]