Belgian based duo, Lovelorn Dolls are a very intriguing band. Whilst they’re signed to the Alfa-Matrix record label, they don’t share much resemblance with the majority of Electro-Industrial artists on the label, instead having a more Gothic Metal style to their music. Whilst listening to their third instalment, Darker Ages, I did feel a lot of familiarity in their sound (which is not a bad thing, but more on that later!)

Opening track “Darker Days” sets the tone for the album perfectly. An eerie dark orchestral sound gives way to metal guitars, and heavy backing riffs. Menacing growling vocals from vocalist LadyHell pierce through the soundscape, before she progresses to cleaner melodic vocals and harmonies. This is the only track on the album where harsh vocals are used, which I found unusual, but they don’t feel too out of place. From there the album continues with this epic orchestral Gothic metal theme, occasionally adding in a few different elements for variety. “Dead Sea” is a much slower paced track, with chugging riffs, whilst “Lament” speeds things up a bit more with the inclusion of bobbing electronic synths, giving the track a sense of urgency. “Shining Star” has an excellent conglomeration of different electronic and organic elements, with it unexpectedly developing into a beautiful ballad, including epic strings during the chorus section. Tracks like “Happy Endings” and “Legenda Natura” are a good example of the diversity Lovelorn Dolls can pull off. These two tracks have an extremely 80’s synthpop vibe to them, including catchy electronic hooks, all whilst still keeping in check with the epic metal sound that the rest of the album contains. These songs have a very fairytale, dreamlike feel to them, and the vocals are layered in an interesting way. My personal highlight of the album is “Maniac Girl”, starting with a very melancholy tone, with subdued electronic sounds then bursting into a wall of bulky guitars, contrasted by minimal sounding verses, making it a very dynamic track.

There’s a lot going on in Darker Ages, it’s a record full of contrasts. At times it sounds epic, at times it’s haunting, and it’s full of catchy moments, as well as having a theatrical beauty throughout. It has a cinematic vibe, almost as if it were a film soundtrack! However, like I said earlier, there are a few familiar elements, and it’s clear to see that Lovelorn Dolls have taken inspiration from other artists. Sometimes I caught sounds that reminded me of the likes of Lacuna Coil or The Birthday Massacre. Although is this really a bad thing? Whilst their inspirations are obvious, they still manage to take those sounds, and make it into their own. I admit, I wasn’t too sure what to think at first, but the more I listened, the more it grew on me. It may not be anything original, but music doesn’t need to be original to be good. It’s clear that the band have enjoyed making this album, and it will cater to those who adore this epic Gothic style. Listening to Darker Ages was a great, highly atmospheric experience, with some memorable moments.

Final Verdict: Not the most original album, but definitely one that’s a great listen! Full of epic orchestral Gothic metal, combined with synth elements to add a nice variety, all making for a very cinematic feel. Highly recommended if you love bands of this genre!

Track Listing:

  1. Darker Days

  2. Dead Sea

  3. Lament

  4. Shining Star

  5. Happy Endings

  6. Psalms

  7. Love Missile

  8. Maniac Girl

  9. Legenda Natura

  10. Another World

[Note: This review was conducted after listening to an advance preview copy, provided by the band]