Review Summary: Its a good album, and they did a good job.
Tristania have long been a band with which has had a small but devoted following. This has largely been due to their consistency, and that as changed in 2010, as far as a good portion of fans were concerned, Rubicon just didn't have the same magic that made Widow's Weeds, Beyond the Veil, and World of Glass amazing. They aimed to change this now in 2013 with an album that though is nothing new, and suffers from what I will call the "Rubicon Effect", it also is a notch up. It does have some pretty decent parts, and they can pretty much be summed up in three parts, Vocals, Guitars (Bass, Rhythm, and Lead), and the rest of the band synth/piano, and percussion.
Anders Høyvik Hidle – guitars (1995–) / harsh vocals (2006–)
Einar Moen – synth, programming (1995–)
Mariangela Demurtas – vocals (2007–)
Gyri Smørdal Losnegaard – guitars (2009–)
Ole Vistnes – bass, backing vocals (2009–)
Tarald Lie Jr. – drums (2010–)
Kjetil Nordhus – vocals, acoustic guitars (2010–)
1. "Number" 4:45
2. "Darkest White" 3:25
3. "Himmelfall" 5:47
4. "Requiem" 5:29
5. "Diagnosis" 5:02
6. "Scarling" 5:18
7. "Night on Earth" 3:36
8. "Cathedral" 3:31
9. "Lavender" 5:11
10. "Cypher" 5:43
11. "Arteries" 4:11
Lets start off with something that has long been Tristania's signature feature triple vocal onslaughts. Now my own, and as well as many others complaint was with Mariangela the replacing vocalist who filled the immense shoes of Vibeke Stene. For stepping into both a fan favorite, but also one of the most talented vocalists in the genre is never easy, and Rubicon she really wasn't that great. Now fast forward a few years, and in songs such as say "Himmelfall", she is a detractor, but an addition. In tracks like Number, and Darkest White they use an old formula, and one that produces fantastic results. Not just the "Beauty and the Beast", but using the female vocals diligently, and intelligently has often been the bane of bands such as this. Tristania has done a good job this time round, and Mariangela is used efficiently, and she isn'y overdone except on the track called Requiem, like in Rubicon where it almost felt like the Mariangela show, something that isn't too favorable.
Now Kjetil, most famously known for his work with Green Carnation, he actually does a great job on this album, and again he is no Osten Beregoy, but he is different just like Mariangela which is nice. The man can sing, but he can get a bit...boring or repetitive which can become a bit annoying, and he like Mariangela adds to the songs like salt compliments food, that is what they do to good effect. Now for Anders, an original member of the band, he has been there from the start, and he has taken over all growls for the band, and they are actually my favorite part of the album. Now they are not amazing, but they are great and actually add of a lot. Especially on the track Number, they are blackened not straight up Black Metal, but they are sinister which is great.
Now for the good part the Guitars. My favorite part has to be the guitars, the actual music is a few steps up from last time around, though it isn't evn comparable to Beyond the Veil, or Ashes it is still great. Anders, and Gyri pull off a convincing backdrop for the canvas that is Tristania, and it is done quite well. Bassist Ole, does a fair job as well. Being the bass player, he is usually lost in the mix as is normal in most Gothic Metal, but he does a strong job overall, and adds a few screams to compliment Anders. They all especially shine on Numbers, Night on Earth, and Requiem. Lastly for the Personnel we have Einar Moen, and Tarald. On Synths, and Drums respectively. They are both lost in the mix, Einar to a heavier degree, and Tarald is just kind of there as there is not really a point where he shines, he is just there. Its sad because I feel he could do a lot better. Einar however is the saddest part of the band. One of the greatest parts of the old albums was his presence in the dark canvas of the music. He is completely lost in the mix, and it truly is sad.
Now the Tracks in this album, though they lack the length of previous album are mostly pretty solid. As I hate track by track reviews here is just a few of my favorites.
Number - My favorite track on the whole thing, it is truly impressive, and probably on eof the only songs I would listen to routinely. It starts with some impressive Growls, and the guitar work, though simple is really nice, and done to great effect. I also liked the complimenting vocals from Mariangela, and Kjetil
Lavender - Its a great build up track that has some great guitar work, and the vocals are great, it is almost completely male clean vocals and I love it, Mariangela has some of her best vocal lines in this one as well, and the music is actually allowed to shine, beyond just the vocalists, its great another I will listen to on repeat for at lest a while.
Night on Earth - Is as "balls to the walls" as this album gets, its almost all growls, and its fast furious, and doesn't allow room to breath, it is rather short which for a band like this good, because unlike a band like say Opeth, or Katatonia (Early 90's era), they couldn't go on like that for forever. Its also just an awesome song with some great drumming.
Cypher - Another track like Lavender, but its just great Kjetil does some great vocals on this, and it flows rather nicely. I also really like the beautiful intro riff, its different I don't know why, it just has a certain...something. At about 3:37 a heavy riff comes in, and it just makes you nod your head, and that is something a Tristania album has not made me do since, maybe 2001 anyway its a great one.
Arteries - Another favorite, they opened with a bang, and ended with a boom. The song just jumps straight into it with a devilish scream, and he we go, buckle your seat belt, this is a long ride. "Like a heart attack" Anders screams, and it almost feels like he is going to give you one as he melts your face off. By far the heaviest part of the whole album, its riveting and an enjoyable listen, with a great chorus.
Overall they have actually outdone themselves, this being the same band who released Rubicon, its a great Sophomore release for the new lineup. They should be proud, however it is nowhere near perfect. For those looking for a continuation of your Gothic Metal itch, this is great. However if you want an introduction to it, maybe some of the classics from the 90's would be a better start, and it certainly is a good addition one that I will buy on vinyl, when that option becomes available, a pat on the back to Tristania.
It can get a bit boring
tends to drag on at times