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I was dragged out of lurking by the guy who reviewed this album and said it was like lacuna coil and nightwish and had keyboards like Children of Bodom's (and then gave it a 70-something). This reviewer did not actually listen to this album, or he would have realized:
A) This album has no powermetal aspects whatsoever
B) This album is not solo centered
C) This album is dark
D) The keyboards are used 9 times out of 10 to stand in for other instruments that the band apparently did not have access to in the studio, IE harpsicord, piano, orchestra hits. They are not used to drive riffs like CoB's (CoB's keys are ok, but sometimes sound like something out of a Capcom game)
E) There are specialized vocalists for every vocal style
I gave this album a 100 because it is my the best goth metal album to date and because the average needs to reflect this. Let me break that down a bit.
The artists seem to know what they are doing throughout the entire album. The production is excellent, but not crispy. It sounds like it was recorded in a church, and the sound has a bit of staying power. This makes everything on the album sound like it has a lot of power, a lot of impact. The album also sounds dark. Not blackmetal dark, a different dark. A more dignified dark. The electric guitars are talented, but that isnt what the music centers on. The guitar shines the most when it is a blend of acoustic guitar under electric guitar. The sound on this album is all very layered, that is the main feel of the album. Unlike a great deathmetal album though, your ear isnt drawn to pick apart the music, it is very much a whole. The album gives you the impression that everyone in this band is obscenely competent.
1) Beyond the Veil
My favorite track. The begining with the lead female vocal is amazing. Then the music hits, and is very percussive. The harsh male vocals and the accoustic guitar then hit, and the sound reaches a level of completeness and feeling I have never heard before. The female vocals break in every now and then with 3 or 4 layer harmonies that melt your soul. The lyrics are excellent, they are dark and romantic but still enraged. I want to meet the girl this song is about. The song ends with the clean male lead fading out in a deep melodic chant that will grab you and pull you into the next track.
This is the "low" point on the album, and I say "low" because the track before and after it are so great you may be forced to skip it on occasion. This is a cool down track, a nostalgic track. The guitars roll with the keyboard and occasional breakdowns drive the track further. The build-ups and breakdowns continue throughout the track, and vocalists shift with the speed of the music. The female lead has an excellent set near the end.
3) Sequel of Decay
This is a really sexy song. Women love this song. Listen to this song with women. If you are a woman, get this song. It reminds me of a better orchestrated version of the sound Metallica used to put into their slower pre-reload songs like "Unforgiven". This is my second favorite on the album. The lyrics are excellent. The gradual build-ups are very powerful. The clean male vocals are the best on the album. This is the song many people would buy this album for. Think "My Dying Bride" on a really good day, but with more variety. Its 6 minutes long and could use another 4.
4) Opus Relinque
This song opens with sort of a club-goth feel. Then it gets pissed off. This song is excellent. There are some parts in this song that would make Cradle of Filth shit thier pants and beg forgiveness for such sins as "Nymphetomine".
5) Lethean River
The begining is mellow with some accoustic guitar. This is a very good song in general, and it fits together well. Much less chaotic than the last track, with some great melodies. The violin sections are very good. This song makes me wish these guys had an orchestra.
6) ...Of Ruins And A Red Nightfall
This song is also led by a rolling guitar. The layering of the harsh vocals is excellent. The violin is excellent too. There is some excellent imagery in this track. It fits snuggly into the middle of this album, and has an interesting rhythm that can entrance you if you let it.
This is better than the vast majority of instrumentals you will hear in the middle of a goth album. This is a piano song that sets the mood for the next track.
This is an excellent song. Its hard, but still has some excellent melodies. The harsh male vocals have some excellent layerings with the lead female near the end. The end of the song combines violin and the rest of the song's feel into an excellent conclusion. The keyboards really show the talent of the player in this track. The end pounds as hard as any oldschool deathmetal album.
What a song. This song has some excellent clean male vocals in it and feels more inquisitive than the rest of the album. This song also has a bit of a groove in the middle with clean male chior vocals.... it works really well though. This level of slickness and experimentation is what the majority of "World of Glass" ( the album after this) went for. This is a really subtle slash at religion, and it's a stylish one at that. Its tracks like this that add the layer of dignity to Tristania's vibe that blackmetal (excluding Emperor) often lacks (or chooses to leave out).
A slow and sorrowful outro. This is a the metaphorical fall of the album, it is an excellent way to end it. This is a Goth album. No happy endings (damn nightwish).
If you like excellent music, buy this album. This is what goth metal should sound like. This is the perfection of the genre. The only way to improve this album would be to give the artists as they were at this time a multimillion dollar budget and 3 years for this album so they could make exactly what they wanted to without any limits. If those keyboards could have been organs, harpsicords, and orchestra, and a piano, this would be the best album you would ever hear. It still may be. Get it now.
And what the hell, this sounds nothing like Nightwish and CoB. Those bands are fine, but this is a different style entirely. Come on. Thats like saying Stone Temple Pilots and Slayer sound alike because they use guitars.