When Nothing Remains are from Gothenburg, Sweden, though to be honest you wouldn’t know it. I mean that in an entirely supportive way; there are no overwrought Maidenisms creeping forth, no sickly saccharine duelling guitars to distract away from the misery. Yes, while this band is Scandinavian, they have a most resolutely Russian sound in their brand of maudlin death/doom. Well, this is Solitude Productions, isn’t it?

That being said, there is plenty to distinguish this album from the hordes of similarly lace-hanky, graveyard lurking Russian outfits out there. Of course, there is the backbone of any good doom/death outfit – hints of misery, love-lost lyricism and hoarse vocals to wash it all down with. However, this is an album that has a certain amount of artistry to back up the genre conventions, along with some of the best keyboard and effects that I have heard in a very long time. The production is such that when I hear the string sections that punctuate the songs – or the piano – that they sound very much like the real thing, and not like the usual obviously synthetic parpings that ruin so many other releases. There is also a pleasing dynamic range of tempos here. Although many of the songs conform to the leaden crawl that accompanies weeping and gnashing of teeth, there are also some mid-tempo moments that produce more of an inducement to set the head nodding.

There’s a seemingly authentic Victorian-like sense of atmosphere to the music, which all points towards the singularity of the vision shown by the band. It’s always great to receive a product that has clearly been conceived as a work of love and art by the participants. On this case, the album has strong artistry apparent in the song writing, the playing and the production. Even the album art has an appeal that works with the themes of it, involving as it does death on a horse drawn carriage, a bloke with a top hat and a ghost. Oh, and an owl. It’s far from original, though it’s probably testament to the quality here that Johan Ericsson (Draconian) provides clean vocals in the album. All in all, a quality album that will grace any doom/deathsters collection.

(7.5/10 Chris Davison)