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When Nothing Remains : Thy Dark Serenity

When Nothing Remains are faintly rooted in the mid-90s tradition, but the quintet are spreading their wings wider.

Sweden’s When Nothing Remains present their second album, titled 'Thy Dark Serenity', issued on Solitude Productions. I find both the band name and album title a bit awkward on the tongue, but that ends as soon as the music begins. From the opening bassoon-synth passage and the oppressively heavy guitars arriving shortly after, I had a feeling I could be in for a something memorable. When Nothing Remains are faintly rooted in the mid-90s (and late 00s) Paradise Lost tradition, but the quintet are spreading their wings very wide indeed. 'Thy Dark Serenity' is tide of majestic, gothic-touched symphonic metal in which a receptive listener can’t help but be swept away.

Truthfully, without Peter Laustsen and Jan Sallander’s convincingly lush string and woodwind arrangements, this album would likely be a pedestrian outing. The metal instrumentation and vocal performances are merely good, not great. But they are the foundation from which Laustsen and Sallander’s orchestrations lift the entire musical scene well above mediocre. 'Thy Dark Serenity' goes to a place normally occupied by bands like Within Temptation and Epica. And that’s likely the make-or-break point for listeners: fans of ultra-cinematic Power Metal will find this an irresistable dark delight, while those who can’t stomach the bombast will be turned off. The sheer drama is so prevalent that it may be at once the album’s central strength and its shortcoming: it presents all of itself on the surface, without much evident depth or room for subtlety.

Production is pristine, with all instrument layers clear at all times, and full-bodied rhythm guitars. There isn’t much obvious lead guitar work; that space is taken here by the orchestrations. Intended or not, I often get a 'maritime' impression, a sense of traveling across oceans under a night sky with no land in sight. This expansiveness comes across especially well during the clean singing sections, where the drums and guitars really breathe.

The word I land on here is “professional”. When Nothing Remains clearly had a vision of what they wanted to accomplish. The result is not something I see resonating with well-traveled Doom devotees. To me, this is a “Doom” album suited more for listeners outside the genre and curious, than those already living within it.

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Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. I Forgive You
2. A Ravens Tale
3. She Died in Autumns Rain
4. Wings of the Withered
5. Thy Dark Serenity
6. Like an Angels Funeral
7. When Heaven Once Fell
8. When We Stop Breathing

Duration : Approx. 52 minutes

Visit the When Nothing Remains bandpage.

Reviewed on 2013-09-21 by Mark Rzeszutek
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