Review: Diary of Dreams – Elegies in Darkness

Another entry in the Diary of Dreams. We all know the story by now: Adrian Hates’s forging in the darkwave frontier has helped in bridging the gap between goth and dance music, a happy (sad?) medium between the two as a miserably toe-tapping approach to the genre. A new album is not likely to break new ground this late in the game, but somehow, Hates and grew still chisel out new shapes and markings in their artform. Such an attractive merging of styles, combined with distinct classical and symphonic elements, makes Elegies in Darkness another captivating account in the story.

If “Malum” is a precursor to anything else after it, it’s that Elegies in Darkness is huge, sweeping, and big. Really big. The density of the melodies and vividness of the key arrangements present on the album is a reminder of why Diary of Dreams has persevered as such a respectable force in goth. Even the dance beats infecting nearly every knook and cranny of modern goth music sound fresh enough to dance to while listening closely enough to get to the heart of the songs, such as on the swooning “Dogs of War” and its coupling keys of doom. “A Day in December” is the album’s first trip down the memory lane of deep, foreboding piano pieces, undercut by distant pads and Hates’s shaking drone. “Dream of a Ghost” is spooky noir with a minimal dance beat. “Daemon” begins with DoD’s trademark classical-meets-sombre-romantic piano and bursts into burgeoning beats and pulsating synth bass. “The Battle” takes what precedes it and amplifies it into a gothic symphony, contrasting between brooding orchestrations in the verses and a tragic hammer of operatic flair during the chorus, a concept expanded further on “An Empty House.”

If you’ve followed Diary of Dreams at all in their career, you’ll have a definite hint of where Elegies in Darkness will take you. But that does not matter, because the new album is Diary of Dreams in as an invigorated state as ever. It’s 75-minute runtime is full of creepy-crawly melodies, gloomy lyrics, breathtaking symphonic passages, and a crushing atmosphere. Diary of Dreams: leaders in darkwave, always and forever.

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