BESEECH
"Sunless Days"

(Napalm)

01. Innerlane
02. The Outpost
03. A Bittersweet Tragedy
04. Everytime I Die
05. Devil's Plaything
06. Lost
07. Last Obsession
08. Emotional Decay
09. Restless Dreams
10. The Reversed Mind (outro)

RATING: 7.5/10

On BESEECH's fifth album, "Sunless Days", melancholic moments resulting from the darkness that surrounds are short-lived thanks to an emphasis on the tuneful. Sure, the gothic presence is significant and a chill is always in the air, but it's the melodies of songs like "Innerlane", "The Outpost", and "A Bittersweet Tragedy" that one remembers most, even amidst all the pouting and lament. "Sunless Days" succeeds because it satisfies the curiosity that a glimpse from the edge of the abyss brings and still manages to send you away humming.

It starts with the vocal interplay. There's something to be said about a person's ability to carry a tune, rather than trample it. When female singer Lotta Höglin's sweet voice bursts through an arrangement, the song comes alive. Not that male vocalist Erik Molarin is any slouch, mind you; his brooding style splendidly complements Lotta's style. It's just that when Höglin begins reaching for the stars, one's focus immediately shifts. Her moment in the sun comes on "Lost", five-and-a-half minutes of serenading the listener with only piano accompaniment. Rather than acting as a cure for insomnia, the tune captivates. Molarin's effectiveness derives from an ability to transform from a Pete Steele impression — ensuring that any solar energy produced by Lotta is kept to a minimum — to a marginally more cheery mid-range vocal (check out "Last Obsession" for an example of both styles).

There are moments toward the end of the disc that are a tad more misery-ridden ("Emotional Decay" and especially "Restless Dreams"), though still a ways from suicidal soundtrack material. Most worthy of note is the cover of DANZIG's "Devil's Plaything". As odd as it may seem, the song is a brilliant choice for a cover, the chilling structure of the original is maintained and given a big-time TYPE O NEGATIVE-by-way-of-BESEECH work-over.

An effective mix of keyboards/programming, strong riffs, thick bass lines, and lockstep drumming keep things moving along at a good pace, leaving no time for yawns. You may not fall to your knees with arms raised to the heavens screaming, "Why couldn't I have written that song!" but each tune is still quite memorable. Just enough woe to satisfy the black-clad clan and enough pop-sensibility to entice the perpetually giddy, "Sunless Days" should allow BESEECH to further extend its reach.

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