Melancholy is a delicate matter. This haunting emotion can in one moment sting unbearably painful yet at other times even deliver a bittersweet pleasure to the afflicted. Yet there can be no doubt that this feeling permeates all of the songs on DE ARMA's sophomore full-length "Strayed in Shadows" in one way or the other. And while the Swedes shift musically in and out and between melancholic metal, gothic rock, shoegaze, and even post-punk, melancholy remains the duo's anchor point.
On "Strayed in Shadows" the line-up has undergone a significant change. In the place of FEN and FELLWARDEN mastermind Frank "The Watcher" Allain, who sang on the album debut "Lost, Alien & Forlorn" (2013), guitarist and bass-player Andreas Pettersson, who founded DE ARMA in 2009, took over vocal duties as he already does in STILLA among other bands. This decision was partly caused by the extremely personal nature of his lyrics for "Strayed in Shadows". Those, who have followed the many bands and projects of this very creative Swede might be surprised by his vocal expression in the album, which is supported by the beautiful guest performance of Maria Oja on the tracks 'Illusions of Love' and 'Days Of Judgement' – a constellation inviting comparison with acts such as ANATHEMA and ANTIMATTER.
Particularly in those two song, but also throughout other passages on "Strayed in Shadows", another aspect of DE ARMA becomes more prominent: Despite all the darkness and melancholy inherent in the duo's songs, there is also a warm feeling of comfort and shelter.
DE ARMA 2021 : Andreas Pettersson, Johan Marklund. (photo by Nicklas Lundqvist)
"This, album, 'Strayed in Shadows' reaches partially back to recordings that have been made years ago", explains frontman Andreas Pettersson. "In my mind, it has adopted many faces over time, both in negative and positive ways. DE ARMA has always been very important to me despite long periods of seeming inactivity. I could never shake the feeling that one day it would crawl back upon me, which has been both, a burden and an inspiration. The completion of this 'new' album marks the final stage of a journey as well as some kind of rebirth for DE ARMA and for me personally. To me, its identity has grown stronger over time and now the vision leading to it has fully materialised. 'Strayed in Shadows' reflects the feeling of being lost in oneself, to be lost in or without a profound relationship, and the hesitant longing for a future without change. While the album is based upon true events and personal experiences, I hope that listeners will find their own connections and interpretations."
With "Strayed in Shadows", DE ARMA send a ray of light to invite you into their warm shelter in a sea of Nordic melancholy.
"With stronger hooks than their debut there’s a lot here to bring in fans of both the old and new variants of these genres, and while some moments do still run a bit long, I’ve still found myself returning to this one every few days for another blast of melancholic beauty."
9/10 - Chris Dahlberg - Metaltrenches.com
"'Strayed in Shadows' is (...) the marriage of many beautiful moments from the musical memory of a melancholic and dreamy generation. And it's a great joy to dive into this album's music."
9/10 - Nico Steckelberg - Hörspiegel.de
"Another great sounding recording from DE ARMA ... I can see this appealing to fans of gothic rock and melancholic metal."
8/10 - Occult Black Metal 'zine
"These are songs to really immerse yourself in, sure there is melancholy but they are not sad and miserable in the slightest."
8/10 - Pete Woods - AveNoctum.com
"There is a lot to like here though with some very specific treatments on vocals and drums that feel like a tribute to 80’s-90’s goth and guitar-driven, synth rock."
8/10 - Paul LaPlaca - Metal-Temple.com
"Wer mit Dark Rock etwas anzufangen weiss, der sollte sich DE ARMA effektiv mal geben, guter Stoff! Düster!"
9/10 - Toby S. - MetalFactory.ch
"Der klare, facettenreiche Gesang von Pettersson ist anmutig, mal still und zerbrechlich, dann wieder kraftvoll und kämpferisch."
8/10 - Volkmar Weber - Deaf Forever
"Charmanter Gothic-Rock-Post-Punk mit viel Melancholie."
Alex Schön - Orkus! Magazin
"DE ARMA haben musikalisch gelungene wie melancholische Kompositionen zu bieten, in denen man sich verlieren kann."
12/15 - Jonathan Jancsary - Legacy
"'Straight In Shadows' ist eine atmosphärisch gelungene Platte." 7/10 - Meredith Schmiedekamp - Rock Hard
"Many fans of music generally described inside a goth context will enjoy this one, as well as those who generally like dark and atmospheric laden rock and metal."
The Viking In The Wilderness
"Be sure to try out! / Unbedingt antesten!"
"'Strayed in Shadows' feels like a Western cyberpunk epic – a darkly emotional journey underpinned with hints of synthwave."
Jeff Treppel - Bandcamp
"'Strayed in Shadows' is the pleasant surprise of the summer - an album that you desperately ask never to end."
Γιώργος Μακρής - Rockway.gr
"Das schwedische Duo beweist ein glückliches Händchen, wenn es um die Zusammenführung verschiedener Stile geht."
Horrschd - Medienkonverter.de
"Dit is een leuke plaat geworden voor fans van Katatonia, Paradise Lost, Tiamat, Anathema en dergelijke."
80/100 - Bart Verlinde - Musika.be
"Bardzo dobry zasługujący na uwagę album."
8/10 - Mariusz Danielak - ArtRock.PL
"'Strayed in Shadows' είναι μια ακτίνα φωτός που σε προσκαλεί στο ζεστό του καταφύγιο, κάπου εκεί ψηλά, στην Σκανδιναβική μελαγχολία."
("'Strayed in Shadows' is a ray of light that invites you to its warm refuge, up there, in Scandinavian melancholy.")
Eleni Liverakou Eriksson - Rock'n'Roll Monuments
"E dunque, senza esitazione, si può affermare che si tratta di uno degli album più interessanti tra quelli finora pubblicati nel 2021."
("Without hesitation, it can be said that it is one of the most interesting albums among those released so far in 2021.")
8/10 - Andrea Donaera - Metalitalia.com
"Brani molto intimi, pregni di solitudine, ricchi di introspettiva, arrangiati con maestria, curati nei minimi dettagli, capaci di trasmettere sentimenti puri e travolgenti."
8/10 - Luca Zakk - Metalhead.it
"Πιστεύω πως χρειαζόμαστε και τέτοια μουσική πού και πού."