Released: 2016, Despotz Records
Eleven years ago, Sweden’s Beseech released their last studio album in SUNLESS DAYS and then broke up soon after that. MY DARKNESS, DARKNESS is the anticipated reunion of the band, featuring two original members in guitarist Robert Vintervind and singer/guitar player Klas Bohlin. Also returning is guitarist Manne Engström, who was with the band for only SUNLESS DAYS. Beseech was a band of two phases, the second featuring the captivating vocals of Lotta Höglin and Erik Molarin. While that period of the band is often considered the definitive lineup, the band released some excellent songs on their first two albums as well. The new album leans more towards the band’s early period, most evident in the more subdued vocals and atmospheric music.
MY DARKNESS, DARKNESS is a competent, if somewhat tentative return. “Beating Pulse” is absolutely the correct song to lead things off, with a slightly faster tempo than most of the album and quickly introduces the complementary dual vocals of Bohlin and new female singer, Angelina Sahlgren Söder. Söder’s vocals have a sleepy, drugged quality that is refreshingly different than the operatic styles employed by so many bands of this style. “The Shimmering” is another highlight, with its tribal drum pattern to open things as Bohlin’s reveals his own drowsy style. Most closely resembling the band’s latter period style is the low thump of the single “Highwayman”
Musically, the songs shift between periods of clean guitars and distortion with prominent and tasteful keyboard lines interwoven through the entire album. Overall, this is a moody, often depressing musical exploration with brief bursts of sunlight delivered at a mostly relaxed pace. It is the slower pace that will have some listeners pining for some bursts of faster heaviness, and these do usually appear at the right time, like near the end of the album in “One Last Call”, that features the album’s trademark mix of melancholy and cautious optimism.
The production is quite good with plenty of balance and separation that enhance the atmospheric passages. There are some gorgeous melodies all over the album, and if there is a complaint to level, it is that neither Bohlin nor Söder have very expansive or expressive ranges, which leads to frequent periods of perhaps intentional drowsiness. Undeniably, this is music best suited to those suffering from fatigue brought on by extensive listening periods of brutal and harsh metal. But during those times, MY DARKNESS, DARKNESS hits the sweet spot. Lovers of traditional gothic metal and rock will find dark avenues of escape with the return of Beseech.