Swedish rockers Beseech have packed a lot in to a career that now spans nearly a quarter of a century, but unfortunately there have been almost as many pitfalls as peaks over that time and the band returns now, with a new record deal and lineup, perhaps not as well-known on the global stage as they deserve to be. However, hopefully that’s set to change and there’s definitely a real feeling of rebirth around My Darkness, Darkness.

Sonically, they’ve not strayed too far from their normal path, mixing, deep melancholic male vocals (Klas Bohlin) with ethereal female ones (Angelina Sahlgren Söder) in a strangely beguiling manner, the resultant noise being a strange mix of country crooner Chris Isaak’s deathless tenor and The CardigansNina Persson in gloriously unholy union. When this works well, as it does spectacularly so on Mr. Uninvited, Beseech are surely in a league of their own among gothic rock bands, creating a sound at once comfortingly familiar yet unlike anything else currently doing the rounds in the goth rock genre.

That country feel is extended with the spaghetti western guitar tones that usher in the title track (which does veer quite close to HIM territory if we’re being honest, which we are) and continues right through to the band’s excellent cover of Jimmy Webb’s The Highwayman, recently covered of course by US metalheads Iced Earth; The Beseech version is preferable, staying more faithful to the original yet undeniably investing it with a feel that is pure Beseech. Taking on a song as good as this is often tricky work, yet the band navigate these choppy waters well and end up owning the song.

Elsewhere the aching Atmosphere is as, well, atmospheric as you’d hope given the title, whilst the downcast Darksome also makes great play of the male/female vocal contrast and features some great acoustic guitar work from Robert Vintervind and Manne Engström.

In the final washup, you’re reading Sentinel Daily because you love heavy metal and there’s little here to excite fans of the heaviest metal, that’s for sure; however almost everyone else will find something to enjoy within the aching, wearied grooves of My Darkness, Darkness. An unexpected pleasure.

My Darkness, Darkness is out now.