Widow's Weeds

Tristania - Widow's Weeds ©1998 Napalm Records
1. Preludium...
2. Evenfall
3. Pale Enchantress
4. December Elegy
5. Midwintertears
6. Angellore
7. My Lost Lenore
8. Wasteland's Caress
9. ...postludium

Considering Tristania is floating their little boat in a puddle already filled with the schooners of other similar bands, Widow's Weeds is actually a pretty darned good album of doom-death symphonic metal. Yes, you will hear similarities to certain bands here, including touches of Theatre of Tragedy, Moonspell, among others. But that's okay. Tristania focuses on writing songs that work and don't completely bog down in the trappings of ambitious theatrical metal. Since the band uses lush orchestration (albeit on the keyboard), soprano chickie vocals and of course the mandatory boy-who-growls vocals, it would not be hard to dismiss this as yet another entry into an already crowded field of bands. The songs tend to be a bit longish, but there is quite a bit of smoothness and flow within the arrangements so that weariness doesn't set in. Moreover, the band uses interesting song intros that touch on a more ambient base, such as the short but very sharp intro to "Wasteland's Caress". The only time I really raised an eyebrow at anything this band did was on "Angellore" where singer Morten Velund sounds far too much like Moonspell's newer material and as we all know, this is bad news. Though for the most part I've been oversaturated with bands of this nature for the past couple years, Tristania gets a thumbs up for just having some good songs and a nice solid album.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/2000

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Beyond The Veil

Tristania - Beyond The Veil ©2000 Napalm Records
1. Beyond The Veil
2. Aphelion
3. A Sequel Of Decay
4. Opus Relinque
5. Lethean River
6. ...Of Ruins And A Red Nightfall
7. Simbelmynė
8. Angina
9. Heretique
10. Dementia

Wisely building on the sound I last heard on Widow's Weeds, Tristania's Beyond the Veil has already captured more attention than their previous works and rightfully so. Again, Tristania is doing nothing that is revolutionary or unexpected, but they pull off the symphonic doom sound so well that it's very hard to fault them for that. Given that lesser bands are really the ones who cause listener burnout and oversaturation of the style, it's very easy to dismiss this stuff quickly, but that would be a vast disservice to Tristania.

Beyond the Veil sounds like what might happen if (you may choose a scenario of your liking): 1) Theatre of Tragedy took their economy car and traded it in for a luxury sedan, 2) Dismal Euphony booted out their off key female singer, hired a competent female vocalist and resumed the spark of excitement Autumn Leaves offered a few years ago or 3) Moonspell if they weren't so pedestrian and sure of themselves. Beyond the Veil is chock full of some of the lushest symphonic sounds and grand scale production. Fortunately the symphonic interludes and more operatic female vocals are the kind that work fully within the confines of the songs and not simply slapped on to get that effect. The melodies throughout are captivating and exciting while the usage of intelligent song structure keeps the album on a whole from bogging down in pretension or unwieldy dross and excess. If you happen to be in a record store having this on in-store play, you'll instantly be hooked and demand a copy. Thumbs up yet again to perhaps the one goth/doom/darkwave metal band that seems to have figured out how to make good music in this style.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/2000

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