German dark rockers Lord of the Lost – they’ve just attained a bit of extra-curricular notoriety by being refused entry to the US for a long-confirmed tour in support of KMDFM – may well be a new name to Sentinel Daily readers. Let’s hope that’s something that changes after the release of this beguiling new album.

Frontman Chris Harms doesn’t have much of a voice. But it’s cracked, warm, world-weary tone won’t fail to reel you in as he delivers ten sombre tales of loss and desolation, backed by a spaghetti-western styled set of orchestrations whose sometimes florid air gives the perfect counterpoint to Harms’ defeated honesty.

The term dark rock may well conjure up images of The Sisters of Mercy or, perhaps more pertinently in this case, fellow Euro goths The 69 Eyes or HIM, but, truth be told, there’s precious little actual ‘rock’ in evidence here. In fact, Swan Songs II is probably closer to the more grandiose side of Nick Cave, former Bauhaus man Peter Murphy or American gothic heroes Mayday (hint: if you like this album, make your way to Mayday’s Bushido Karaoke as fast as dignity allows), but that is of little import in the final washup. This is a strangely affecting, and effective, record.

Some of the songs sound as if the budget ran a little shorter than the ambition, which is a shame, because this is music, however introverted and undoubtedly personal, that deserves the biggest possible palette on which to work its magic. But If you can ignore little gripes like that, and enjoy a bit of wine-stained late night noir as well as the power and glory of full-on heavy metal, then you’ll get an awful lot out of this delightful surprise of an album.

Lord of the Lost will release Swan Songs II through Napalm Records on October 6th.