I came across De Arma some time ago when I reviewed their first full length, Lost, Alien & Forlorn; at the time it was a trio in which Swedish musicians Andreas Petterson and Johan Marklund were joined by Englishman Frank Allain, vocalist for Fen. Strayed in Shadows is a more than pleasant work, full of melodies of a certain usability thanks to the ability of the duo to adhere to a well-defined song form, moving in the wake of a perceptible model such as Katatonia, but returning the sound in a more gritty and metallic way than done for example, staying in recent times and in a similar area, the Finnish Counting Hours. If we add to all this the conspicuous post-punk nuances, particularly found at the rhythmic level, we can deduce that the seven tracks are addressed to a transversal audience united by the unconditional appreciation of milestones such as Tonight’s Decision and Discouraged Ones, that De Arma don’t ape but rework in an effective and engaging way and, in some ways, more compact than the previous work that tended, instead, to branch out into different stylistic rivulets. That’s why a work like Strayed in Shadows deserves all possible attention, although some may be driven to keep away in light of a hypothetical lack of originality; the truth is that, while maintaining the sound within grooves certainly already beaten, Petterson and Marklund give us the pleasure of listening to melancholic sounds, decadent and, at the same time, robust and catchy, by virtue of an impeccable instrumental work enriched by the convincing test behind the microphone of Andreas. An album that proves to be an unmissable appointment for those who want to listen to quality gothic metal.
2021 – Trollmusic