Black Lilium - Dead Man’s Diary

Black Lilium Dead Man’s Diary cover
Black Lilium
Dead Man’s Diary
Black Lilium should have a better press releases for severalreasons. I read progressive melodic metal and Muse / Mando Diao influences and what I get is Bullet For My Valentine (without growls or serious solos) crossed with Tokio Hotel’s “hardest” moments aiming for that lucrative BMTH market. A transparent ploy. I will avoid making some seriously funny double entendres, based on the unfortunate word choices till later, opting to concentrate on what the band has to offer with their alternative rock/meta..
The band’s straightforward, moody hard edged alt, is not too bad, as it doesn’t get too complicated and tends to have a punk-pop catchiness too it. It doesn’t have the polished or massive sounding production of the juggernauts of the genre, but at least it displays the ability of the band to write coherent, focused material, with at least one good hook each.
“Beast in the Backseat” both sounds like an ominous title a rapist would come up with, but then again its ominous alright, once it gets going, in a pretty goth but also edgy way.
“Paragon of Imperfection” does get a little more involved, but its muddy mids production steals a little away from its prog aspirations (strings etc.); I suppose a bit of Muse-ing is going on here.
“Demon in Disguise” has an actually playful, catchy allure, which might have worked if it was done in a more “HIM” decadent and pompous style. I mean it does allude to that style, albeit a little heavier.
“Start All Over” is a little busier and poppier, not exactly “My Chemical Romance”, but not that that far away either.
“Never” actually was some bristling electronics going on that feel quite appropriate for it, but make it sound a little different than the rest of the material. But still it has a nice chorus, so I didn’t mind it.
“Walls around My Soul” has a more contemporary touch and nice melodies carried by the keys and guitar and it’s quite somber.
“Everything I Am” begins like a ballad and a good one, until it decides to go full in with instrumentation. The guitar’s too distorted, for my liking… because it’s otherwise the best song the band has to offer so far. A few changes and some more dual vocals (harmonizing instead of doing sing-along ooohs) would really help it. That song shows a fair bit of promise.
“The Ones You Made Us” begins with some really compressed barrage of drumming that seriously #$#$# up the mix antagonizing the vocals. Unless your production is expertly done and manages great separation don’t… it’s actually another decent tune, with nice key and vocal melodies.
“My Purpose” is nice, but suffers from a guitar tone that’s not that great a match for the style, as it might be distorted, but it bleeds too much into the mix, when it should have been a lot more contained.
The title track, “Dead Man’s Diary”, is actually pretty epic and quite interesting, with my reservation for the guitar tone remaining.
Last but not least, “Ghosts without a Voice” tries to be this modern heavy goth rocker with subtle electronics and pretty catchy parts including some nicely harmonized ones. It sounds “massive” on a budget, but at least proves that the band has ambition and at least a roadmap to where they’d like to go.
The band has a nice and apt moniker, good song ideas that actually make up a pretty solid album, sufficient ability, seem workmanlike, but their debut ultimately suffers from a mediocre production, a lack of visual identity (the cover is okay); the rest of the press material not so (ie photos and other material could and should be more stylized) and it is self-released, which will make it a monumental task for them to get noticed in a new era of payola and “deaf ears” in what remains of the music industry. Perseverance might take them somewhere. But I won’t hold my breath. It would be nice to see them actually getting somewhere as they’re fairly competent…
I was going to poke some fun at some of their press materials silly mistakes, but I was actually quite enthralled from the material (which would normally not be my cup of tea) that I decided against that and instead, I’d throw in my mild vote of confidence; you might want to do the same, if your tastes are more modern. It’s unlikely that you’ll regret it.