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Last of the summer doom - 49%

joncheetham88, December 30th, 2010

This is a reasonably inessential entry into Theatre of Tragedy's discography and only merits attention as it is their last flirtation with the hints of death/ doom in their first two gothic doom opuses.

The title track features curling clean guitars in a prototype of the out-there atmosphere Aégis would portray, and a little bit too much "narrating" from founding member and total dick Raymond Rohonyi, compared to his admittedly awesome growls which sound a bit like Felix from Crematory. 'Der Spiegel' is a bit more meaty, with thrusting guitars and growls in German, but as on the opener Liv sounds a bit too cheesy and Renaissance Fair for my likings. The ethereal story telling of her efforts on Velvet Darkness They Fear and the captivating, varied vocal styles of Aégis don't come through at all.

Liv's vocals sound far more convincing on 'As The Shadows Dance', which is an English version of 'Der Tanz der Schatten' from Velvet Darkness They Fear. There are some new electronic-sounding keyboards chucked in which hint at musical pastures beyond Aégis. The doom guitar leads sound pretty sweet, as they did on the original, especially coated with the mighty roar of Rohonyi.

The remixes are interesting to say the least. Staticky electronics and buzzing computerized drums mixed up with processed guitar chugs and growls over the top. The remix of 'Black as the Devil Painteth' features some bilious acapella grunts over synthesized strings and eventually another weird trip-hop (or something, I don't know do I) beat.

The final offering is a cover of Joy Division's 'Decades'. Do you like Joy Division? Personally I've never heard them, but this is a nice tune rendered with gentle drums and pianos by the band, presumably Raymond singing over the top in a deep baritone that he'd refine a bit for the band's next full album. He sounds pretty inexpert and out of tune warbling on this and personally Liv could have done it better, although she hadn't developed her 'pop star Liv' voice then.

In terms of final death/ doom EP before forging onward to new and daring sonic territories, this is no Pentecost III. It does give me good memories of the band's first two albums, particularly Velvet Darkness They Fear, but I wouldn't bother with seeking it out unless you have those and a peculiar need to own everything that involves Liv Kristine.