De Arma
Strayed in Shadows

Label: Trollmusic/SPKR
Three similar bands: Katatonia/Anathema/Paradise Lost

Rating: HHHHHHH (3/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm
1. Pain of the Past
2. City Vultures
3. Illusions of Love
4. Funeral in My Brain
5. Horror in the Dark
6. Days of Judgment
7. You Were Blood

Andreas Pettersson - Vocals, Guitars, Bass
Johan Marklund - Drums, Keyboard

Lost, Alien & Forlorn (2013)

Maria Oja - vocals

Artwork by Ariel ZB (Perturbator)
Mixed & mastered by Tore Stjerna at NBS Studio

Released 2021-06-25
Reviewed 2021-12-30


läs på svenska

I read about melancholy in the press material about Swedish duo De Arma, perhaps due to them being from the north of Sweden where it is almost eternal darkness in the winter and far less darkness in the summer. It is their second album following a debut from 2013, this time with a different voice doing the lead vocals. I didn’t hear the 2013 debut so I cannot compare, but the new voice sounds pretty much like the archetype of the gothic rock/metal style of music. They also spice it up with some female vocals.

It isn’t exactly dramatic or exciting in terms of creative styles, Strayed in Shadows is more akin to the already tried in tested in the gothic style. There is a nice break in the female guest vocals by Maria Oja who adds some depth to an album otherwise lacking in that department. I find that the playing time along with the sparse variation and lack of dynamics feels quite long, they could easily have done away with ten of the almost fifty-five minutes the album plays for.

Low tempo, and no real ideas makes for a far less exciting album that similar acts like Katatonia, Paradise Lost and whatever else they are called. In a way it doesn’t seem like they are really trying, but I don’t doubt that they follow an idea and try to make an exciting album. But a good soundscape and production only takes you so far, when you don’t surprise and innovate it is hard to really make a mark. And that is where these guys fall a bit short, it is not that the album is bad or anything, it is just that we have heard it all before and too many times it has been done better. Though, like so many others they have been quite praised in online reviews so maybe it could be wise to try before discarding.

If you like the similar bands, or style, then it is possible that you will like this one too. But I don’t think they stray far enough into the shadows, only into a greyer place just outside the sun. It lacks the depth, the dark, the imagination to really shine. As so many other bands they try to make it in a overpopulated genre, and I don’t think they succeed in making a mark. If you aren’t into this kind of music it would be wiser to look for you next musical acquisition someplace else, this is pretty far from the best in this genre.