Peccatum - Lost in Reverie
The End Records
Dark Avantgarde Rock
7 songs (50'01")
Release year: 2004
Peccatum, The End Records
Reviewed by Alex

Peccatum has always had a strange mystique for me. What would the undeniable genius of Ihsahn (Emperor) do given the latitude of dark symphonic music with female vocals possibility and undeniable band chemistry, as the female singer, Ihriel, is Ihsahn’s wife? I have missed the debut Strangling from Within, but chased down the 2000 album Amor Fati as you can see from the review link below. Going for the Arcturus throne the band was a little short with Ihriel delivering not her best vocal performance.

Four years of regrouping and rethinking went by. Percussionist Lord PZ (Ihsahn’s brother-in-law I understand) left to concentrate on Source of Tide, Ihsahn finished up Emperor and Ihriel released another album with her solo project. Time for another Peccatum album, another family affair stab at Darkness. Fittingly, Peccatum is also releasing this album through The End Records in the US, a perfect label for the style of music Peccatum plays these days.

Lost in Reverie no longer takes aim at Arcturus-like art metal. I wouldn’t even call it metal. Instead, what we have here is an exercise in dark avant-garde rock. Not much riffery or straightforward guitar is to be heard here. This is the music of the weird and non-conformal. Twisted synths, piano, lots of sound effects, switches from raw to supertender in a matter of seconds, both rough and clean male vocals, and, of course, Ihriel positioned front and center – these are the constituents of Peccatum.

The majority of tracks are cleverly constructed around contrasts. Buzzing fly swarm and rough ripping opening part of Parasite My Heart give place to creepy piano and gentle female vocals. Guitar slowly joins in, builds up and reaches those earlier fly frequencies at its peak, only to yield to piano again. Same can be said about Black Star and Stillness. In both songs tender and almost celestial Ihriel battles the symphonic black metal in the former and industrial ugliness (with fly effects, again, and apocalyptic horns) in the latter. Veils of Blue, however, takes the cake … and the roles are reversed. Now, Ihsahn sings to a touching and gentle melody while Ihriel tears it all apart with her almost hysterical vocals supported by discordant synthesizers. Their final symphonic unison is probably the best moment on the album.

Ihriel has really made a quantum leap and now matches Ihsahn note for note. The participation by jazz percussionist Knut Aalefjaer contributes enormously, his drum touches blending seamlessly with the acoustic strings of In the Bodiless Heart. Having a total control over production Ihsahn can be as crystal clear as he wants to be.

I can’t dispute genius, but the opening and closing tracks left me wanting more. It is OK to close with a quiet piano lament, but Desolate Ever After is a strange choice to open album with. For 3.5 min nothing happens, except shrill strings, synth and Ihriel whispers. Industrial boulder moving rhythms come and go and piano serenity returns.

There is one line in the lyrics of Lost in Reverie “and the world affixes itself to silence”. Peccatum managed to draw a picture of drowning silence for me, welcoming and caressing yet dark and bottomless at the same time. Not your average cup of java, this album will appeal to the fans of modern day Ulver and Agalloch (did I mention The End Records?). Lost in Reverie will not become my favorite dark album, but it made me think and feel at the same time, and that is a good thing.

Killing Songs :
In the Bodiless Heart, Parasite My Heart, Veils of Blue
Alex quoted 76 / 100
Other albums by Peccatum that we have reviewed:
Peccatum - The Moribund People reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
Peccatum - Amor Fati reviewed by Alex and quoted 67 / 100
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