Trail Of Tears

Bloodstained Endurance

Written by: PP on 21/06/2009 21:33:11

I don't remember too much from the previous Trail Of Tears record "Existentia", but re-reading my review from two years ago two things came into mind: a) That the band had a pretty awesome growl contrast to the annoying high pitch chick vocals, and b) that their instrumentation was way more interesting than most gothic metal heading into my direction. So what's new for their new album "Bloodstained Endurance", their sixth studio record since their debut in 1998, other than a replaced female vocalist?

To be perfectly honest, the only other thing that has changed in two years is their level of ambition. The songs already sounded rather large-scale back then, but on "Bloodstained Endurance" they sound grandiose, or majestic to describe it better. The symphonic instrumentation that used to be in a supporting role has now been switched on fully to provide a magnificent display of orchestral ability behind the Dark Tranquillity-esque growling and the cliché gothic vocals. The growling has also improved: Thorsen has much more power and urgency in his harsh voice, and all his passages are among the highlights on the record. On the other hand, Paulsen's clean vocals have also received a similar makeover from her early days, but I'm not sure if loudness and strength is the right choice for her voice, the classical singing of her earlier days fitted her much better than the current more rock oriented approach. For what was previously a nice contrast between the delicate and the rough (especially when Emmanuelle was guesting on "Existentia") has now been turned into an annoying display of 'who can sing or scream louder'.

Much of this can probably be attributed to the production technique, which becomes more and more advanced as years pass by, but this time it's for the detriment of the band. There are a few cool tunes on the record though, with "The Feverish Alliance" leading the way with a catchy chorus from the get go, and "Take Aim. Reclaim. Prevail" playing heavily on the aggressive/clean dynamic. But most others feel like standard gothic metal, which just doesn't compare to "Existentia" on any level.

Download: The Feverish Alliance, Take Aim. Reclaim. Prevail.
For the fans of:Tristania, Autumn, Lunatica
Listen: Myspace

Release date 01.06.2009
Napalm Records

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