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Spirit Tomb — Spiritus Lacrimarum: Dolorem in Lacrimas Efundere
(Apollon Records AP158, 2023, CD / LP / DL)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2023-12-06

Spiritus Lacrimarum: Dolorem in Lacrimas Efundere Cover art

Spirit Tomb is Norwegian artist Leon Kristoffer’s solo project, and his first album is Spiritus Lacrimarum: Dolorem in Lacrimas Efundere, Latin for Spirit of Tears: Pouring Pain into Tears. The album consists of eight of Edgar Allen Poe’s poems set to music for a dark gothic / romantic blend of piano, cello, and vocals. Kristoffer uses a variety of vocal approaches with each song, sometimes he sounds like a woman and at other times dark and sinister similar to David Tibet and his project Current 93. The album opens with Poe’s “Alone” set to a haunting gothic soundscape with sustained bass chords, mournful cello, and his vocals. Next is “A Dream” that Kristoffer imbues with a sepulchral sound and soft vocals for an interesting reading of Poe’s dark visions. Next is the beautiful gothic poem “Annabel Lee” with its wistful piano and slightly jazzy sound. For me this song is too long at almost 13 minutes and misses the mark. I find Us and Them’s rendition far superior, as they capture the eerie and surreal nature of this poem. “To One in Paradise” follows and here is where Kristoffer sounds like Current 93, with his aggressive vocals. Continuing with his fascination with death and dying he presents “Spirits of the Dead” with his whispered recitation as he tiptoes through a graveyard after midnight leading to “The Haunted Palace,” furthering a comparison to Current 93. Now the miasma clears and he slips into the soporific “A Dream within a Dream” for the next ten minutes. This is an eerie edge-of-consciousness listening experience that this whole album is heading towards. And then he wraps everything up with the shortest Poe poem, “Deep in Earth.” This two-line poem, penciled on a printed copy of Poe’s poem“Eulalie” written for his wife while she was alive, is Poe’s despairing lament written after her death. If you enjoy phantasmagorical sonic dreamscapes that awaken memories that disturb, seduce, and haunt, Spiritus Lacrimarum: Dolorem in Lacrimas Efundere is for you.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Spirit Tomb (Leon Kristoffer)

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