Trail Of Tears

Existentia

Written by: PP on 01/02/2007 12:43:30

Norwegian gothic metal band Trail Of Tears's lineup and revolving doors have had an unfortunate amount in common lately. People have been coming in and out at a pace impossible to follow for a casual listener of the band, with new singers and guitarists featuring on virtually every effort of theirs dating all the way back to mid 90s. The latest turn of events was when all members of the band, except its main vocalist Ronny Thorsen, left the band at the end of December, before the new album was even released. This is a great shame, because "Existentia" is not only their best effort to date, but also an album that will certainly prove to be a striking force in the dying gothic metal scene.

When you hear the term gothic metal being used, you immediately think of an angelic frontwoman and heavy power metal style riffage, right? That's what comes into my mind anyway, and as cliché as it sounds, the statement holds its ground against most bands in the genre. However not with Trail Of Tears, who are fronted by a male vocalist, feature a competent growler, and use female vocals sparingly, only to create the occasional atmospheric soundscape that underlines which genre they belong to. The opening track "Deceptive Mirrors" lays this out nicely, with massive keyboard soundscapes and distant female humming, contrasted by powerful riffs and Dark Tranquillity-style raspy, but decipherable vocals. Bring in the preacherously high male vocals into the mix and you've got one hell of an introduction to the album.

It's impressive how the band is able to vary their sound throughout the album without ever losing focus on their music. Take "Empty Room", for instance, which takes advantage of a much slower tempo and Tarja Turunen (ex-Nightwish) style operatic singing, without forgetting the massive open-ended distorted riffs either. On the other hand, a track like "Venom Inside My Veins" demonstrates the bands ability to sound like a real metal band, with thrashy riffs slaying you down straight from the beginning and awesome growls taking the lead during bridges. The material here is versatile as f*ck.

While "Existentia" perhaps isn't as catchy as ELIS's "Griefshire" was late last year, it is certainly much more in your face and more 'metal', therefore perhaps more appealing to the average metalhead. The album has all the elements that the band needs to create one heck of a liveshow full of cinematic effects and what not. It is a shame we will perhaps never witness this now that the band is down to only one member. Whether it's the angelic voices or the raspy growls you're after in your goth metal, Trail Of Tears' fifth album "Existentia" fulfils either of those needs and successfully blends them together into a focused effort.

Download: Venom Inside My Veins, Deceptive Mirrors
For the fans of: Nightwish, Tristania, ELIS, After Forever
Listen: Myspace

Release date 29.01.2007
Napalm Records
Provided by Target ApS

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