Tristania
Ashes


3.5
great

Review

by Seth T. White (Cravinov13) USER (61 Reviews)
April 4th, 2006 | 26 replies | 7,504 views


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist


1 of 2 thought this review was well written

Tristania is Gothic Rock/ Darkwave band that could easily be compared to bands like Lacuna Coil and Within Temptation, but also contains a very small but significant link to some of the more melodic sides of Doom Metal, specifically new Katatonia and clean vocal My Dying Bride. Ashes is the newest effort from this 7 piece band from Norway. The CD also has a US release with one bonus song and a music video for the track Equilibrium, and a different CD cover of female vocalist Vebeke Stene on the cover (see Revolver’s March 2006 issue for more details). This is a review for the European release of the album.

First and foremost, the band has 3 vocalist (a rather unnecessary amount when you consider that none of them play any instrument for the band). Vebeke Stene, by far the most talented vocalist and overall symbol of the band, has a very dark and haunting voice comparable to that of Amy Lee, only without the whining and a more noticeable accent. Østen Bergøy, the male vocalist, has a really deep voice and uses more of a chant style singing rather then actual sweeping melody. Kjetil Ingebrethsen is the harsh vocalist in the band, with growls that remind me of early Katatonia and Agalloch growls, giving the band a more heavier feel then their music at first suggests. **NOTE: I may have the male vocalist and the harsh vocalist mixed up, for I have no good source of information to tell which is which.**

Anders Høyvik Hidle, the guitarist, plays both electric and acoustic guitars for the band, both in which give great atmospheres when both played separately or combined. Rune Østerhus, the bassist, plays a slightly greatly role in the overall sound of the band then the guitarist does, with pummeling bass lines and atmospheric riffs, Rune is by far one of the most talented members in the band. The drumming of Kenneth Olsson is also rather impressive on the album, with occasional tribal beats and some very smooth drum lines, Kenneth manages to hold every song together nicely. Finally, the most hardly recognized member in the band is Einar Moen, who does the synthesizers and programming for the band. Although not much of his work really shines through on the album, his contribution does give the music a more lively and active sound that is soothing to the ears, even during the heavy parts of the album.

Libre starts off the album with some quick, scattered riffs and ferocious growls before evolving into a common tune to that of doomsters that like old Katatonia. Vebeke Stene comes in a little over a minute with her operatic, haunting vocals, slowing the song down a bit before it picks up into some wicked riffs as the band shows a more progressive side to them. By far one of the heaviest songs on the track, and definitely one of the best songs on the album. Equilibrium, hands down the only true stand out track on the album, begins with a beautiful acoustic guitar melody before blasting into an aura of almost epic riffs that are haunting to the ears. The song introduces the male singer, who chants along with Vebeke as she executes some brilliant vocal work. The most haunting track on the album (with a very creepy music video I might add), is also one of he most melodic songs on the album.

Next is The Wretched, with twisted riffs and some nasty drum work in it’s intro, the 7 minute song sounds promising. The song disappointingly changes dramatically once the brutal growls kick in, slowing down the song to a very doomy feel. All three vocalist then join in with a ritual like chant that could easily be done without on the album all together. Musically a great song, but ruined by the poor use of vocals wit exception to some of the vicious growls scattered throughout the song. Cure follows with very mellow, almost Porcupine Tree-esque guitar work followed by Vebeke’s beautiful voice as she makes the song sound even more soothing. The song picks up just a notch with acoustic guitars 2 minutes into it. The song keeps a very good flow is definitely a highlight track on the album.

Circus begins with some haunting synths and chants that are followed by a chilling drum beat that picks up when the guitar picks in with some heavy riffs. Another rather slow song on the album, the song focuses mainly on the guitar riffs, bass solos, and the male vocalists as they join to make a very Katatonia-esque sound which is very appealing, but rather out of place on an album dominated by Vebeke Stene. Next is Shadowman, which starts with slowly ascending chugs before bursting into an aura of doom-esque guitar riffs mixed with the darkwave style that makes the band sound unique. Definitely one of the best songs on the album along with Equilibrium, the song really focuses on the beautiful riffs and the clean vocalists dueting, making a very dark and haunting harmony.

The second near epic long track, Endogenesis, begins with some chugging riffs and the growls that give the song immediate presence. The song then slows down and goes into a very dark, mystic harmony as Vebeke proves once again how talented she is. The song then picks up with guitar riffs 3 minutes into it and drives throughout most of the rest of the tack, with beautiful, entrancing vocals by the clean vocalists. By far the better of the two 7 minute tracks on the album. Bird closes the album on a similar note as that of Cure. The only difference is much more darker guitar strums and more stronger vocals from Vebeke. The song is probably one of the best tracks to say describes Tristania’s overall sound, containing both soft and haunting melodic moments and heavy doom inspired riffs with old Katatonia growls and amazing vocal harmonies as the the two clean vocalists duet.

Pros
-- Amazing vocals
-- A lot of very well executed guitar riffs (especially with the mix of the acoustic guitars).
-- Very atmospheric, dark, and haunting.
-- Good lyrics
-- Great production

Cons
-- Album doesn’t flow as well as it should.
-- Some parts of songs seem out of place on the album.
-- 3 vocalists is very much unnecessary.

Track Listing
1. Libre (4.5/5)
2. Equilibrium (5/5)
3. The Wretched (2.5/5)
4. Cure (4/5)
5. Circus (3/5)
6. Shadowman (5/5)
7. Endogenesis (4/5)
8. Bird (4.5/5)



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user ratings (54)
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3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
pixiesfanyo
April 4th 2006



1222 Comments


So are they like MDB at all?

Or do they just throw in some doomy guitar lines occasionally?

Cravinov13
April 4th 2006



3854 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The doomy guitar lines and some of the atmospheres specifically. Vocally not really, but they do have that doom-esque sound that links them to My Dying Bride.

i am the robots
April 4th 2006



1027 Comments


Good freaking album, the vocals are definately the best part.

Shattered_Future
April 4th 2006



1540 Comments


Na, this band isn't like My Dying Bride much.

Tristiania I find akin to a bad acid trip...it drags on and on with no end in site. Granted, they were one of the first bands to do this sort of thing, but it's boring as hell. Also, when Velad fell out of the band, they just descended into a spiraling pit of suck from which they have yet to return.

Go listen to Sirenia. It's like Tristiania, cept tons more interesting.

Cravinov13
April 4th 2006



3854 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I heard Sirenia, I heard no real significant diffrence.This Message Edited On 04.04.06

the2stranger
April 5th 2006



130 Comments


I saw these guys live last year, they didn't impress me one bit to be honest :confused:
but than again,. I don't like female vocals

good review though

Shattered_Future
April 5th 2006



1540 Comments


Sirenia has a bit more emphasis on...trippiness, almost. Some techno elements to it.

Cravinov13
April 5th 2006



3854 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oh, well... aside from my own side project from my band, I hate techno music. It is rather fun to play, thus is the point of me bringing up I have a side project taht is 'techno'.

Turkish
October 9th 2006



32 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I very much enjoyed this album, although I disagree about the con about having 3 vocalists. I think it would be unneccesary had they all sounded the same, but they all 3 bring so much to the table that mixes it up.

I love the melody of this band, along with the depth they bring. I liked Beyond the Veil a little more myself, but this CD is great. Bird by far has to be one of my favorite tracks along with Equilibrium.

Lenore
December 30th 2006



3 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I think the three vocalists are basic to give Tristania that unique sound (besides Osten is baritone and VIbeke is soprano), Tristania is one of the most representative gothic metal bands, and they are gothic metal, not gothic rock, nor darkwave (darkwave is totally different)
The most catchy songs are Equilibrium and Shadowman, I know, but the music in other songs like "Endogenisis" is better, it's more elaborated.
Lacuna Coil and Within Temptation are TOTALLY different to Tristania, you cannot compare the mainstream sound of Lacuna Coil with the great quality of Tristania, Within Temptation plays something more symphonic than gothic.
Tristania still do great music, with a lot of quiality and the best thing is that they are iferent and not just a "wannabe" gothic metal band.
By the way, it's Vibeke, not VEbeke

Cheers!


robin2220
August 15th 2007



569 Comments


I rather enjoy this album. Though I can see the flaws that you mentioned.

BallsToTheWall
August 11th 2008



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I personally enjoy this more than Illumination. Cure, Equlibrium, and Shadowman are some of the best Tristania songs i've heard.

mothergoose
May 11th 2009



308 Comments


A few misplaced or redundant adverbs, a few sentences that make very little sense at all... this review was hard to read at times. Thanks for reviewing it either way. I haven't sat down and given this one a full listen yet.

mothergoose
June 14th 2009



308 Comments


Also, big fail for mentioning Vebeke and Amy Lee in the same review.

BallsToTheWall
June 14th 2009



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah, major fail on cravinovs part. Vibeke is by far one of the greatest female vocalists in modern. What's gay is the little recognition they recieve anywhre, music sites or in real life metal commentary.

mothergoose
June 14th 2009



308 Comments


When they released Beyond The Veil they got some decent recognition... for like two solid weeks. Then faded back into obscurity. I still need to listen to this album, I know from what little bits I've heard that they'll probably never out-do themselves on BTV... that album was intense.

BallsToTheWall
June 14th 2009



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This isnt but perfectly displays Vibeke's talent.

mothergoose
June 15th 2009



308 Comments


I'm perhaps morbidly curious to see what the band's new female singer will do. I've seen the promo clip, parts of it are interesting, but parts of it are almost cringe-worthy. Should be interesting.

BallsToTheWall
June 15th 2009



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

What's sad is, even with out Vibeke or Morten, Tristania still remian like one of the only good gothic metal bands around. Considering every single fucking band is as processed and not heavy as the enxt one. Minus Draconian of course who are now the torchbearers.

mothergoose
June 15th 2009



308 Comments


I'll have to check Draconian out, I don't believe I've heard them. Yeah, that's a good point though. Gothic metal really doesn't have much to boast about these days... it's sad because when it's good, it's REALLY good.



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