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.
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.
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.
-- 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
-- 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.
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)