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In 2001 gothic Metal band Tristania released their first non-Morten Veland album, World Of Glass. Just looking at the song titles, one can tell they were a little upset with Morten leaving (take a look at the song titles, and interpret them in relation to a band's main songwriter, guitarist and vocalist leaving them), which pervades and pretty much makes World Of Glass.
It's instantly clear when listening to World Of Glass Tristania were incredibly pissed off at Morten Veland leaving the band (especially when his own band went on to suck...anyway). The emotional aspect of this record is the darkest of all Tristania, yet unlike the beautiful melancholy of say, Widow's Weeds, the emotions here are that of hatred, anger and depression. See lyrics such as 'the child in me just died/the scars in me will never heal' or 'this world/its evil ways/the pain that I hide' for evidence of this. The album is still a product of Tristania, meaning emotionally it is top notch; the emotional side always being moving and easy to connect to. This is perfect when you're in a sh*tty mood. However, some of the emotions are just too dark to be enjoyable (see 'Lost' and 'Hatred Grows').
The main aspect of the band has always been the vocals. Sadly, there are some sub-par performances on here along with the usual excellent ones. The other male vocalist (besides Osten) doesn't fit the slower passages; Vibeke's voice feels too harsh at points (see the start of 'Crushed Dreams', ugh); the harsh vocals sound computerised; all but one of the choir parts are boring (I don't know how they went from writing such awesome choir parts to such lame ones, surely they could have just repeated the formula Morten had). Otherwise we have excellent vocal passages as usual; the gothic choir passage at 4:20 of 'Crushed Dreams' is one of the best things they've ever wrote, everything in 'Tender Trip On Earth' rules, Vibeke's solo in 'Wormwood' is beautiful, and more. The core of the band still lives.
Musically the songwriting remains complex and interesting. My initial reaction was to think the band had lost the songwriting foundations Morten laid down (while Einar and Anders came up with the more complex detail), but foundation wise, the band manage to hold it together, if only just. The songs themselves are incredibly interesting and diverse, featuring dissonant violin solos, melodic black metal passages, oppressive choir sections, anthemic vocal triplets, sombre acoustic parts and more. Instrumentally the band are fine, with the one guitar being used efficiently and the drums sounding great as always.
Not the most consistent album, but enough greatness present to deserve a recommendation.
"World of Glass", "World of Glass"... How can I start explaining the greatness of this Tristania album? I can only get one word: PERFECT!!! The album has honestly earned the title of "The God album of gothic metal", although it's clearly a gothic-doom album. Something like this is rarely seen through the years, and when it arrives, it can't be missed!
The album is entirely filled with a heavy atmosphere of despair that'll make anyone who listens to it to lose its breath at all! Also, the "Tristania style" is showed in it: all the songs (except for the bonus track, "The Modern End") last more than 5 minutes, and even more than 6. That's why the album only has nine songs (ten if we include the bonus track); if it had more, it would have become a little tedious.
This album is another physical proof that harsh doom-style male vocals and slow and melodic female vocals & choirs are one of the best couples in music, like a darker version of "The Beauty and The Beast". Even without Morten Veland, the vocal couple sounds great!
The cover artwork is also interesting, and it fits perfectly with the title of the album. It shows Vibeke Stene's face in a mirror world, and it looks awesome! The best album of gothic metal ever demands one of the best cover artworks in gothic metal ever.
The album opens with an almost 7-minute song that includes the entire essence of the album, and I'm talking about "The Shining Path". "The Shining Path" is also one of the best songs of the album.
Through the album, we can find a balance between fast and aggressive songs and dark ballads, maybe because the fast songs are covered by a melodic atmosphere, and the dark ballads include harsh vocals. Do you know how often this situation can be found in the gothic metal and doom metal genres? A very few times! And do you know how much talent does a band need to create this balance? Tons if it!
But this is nothing compared to the main song of the album, the song that a lot of bands would've killed for composing. The best gothic ballad of all time: "Deadlocked". Vibeke's voice as the lead vocals and a verse that combines choir and harsh vocals, a delicate harmony that fits perfectly to the lyrics.
Most of the songs are outstanding, but the ones that I like the most (and that I highly recommend) are four: "The Shining Path", "Deadlocked", "World of Glass" and "Crushed Dreams". The bonus track, "The Modern End", is good too (I don't know why it wasn't included on the regular version).
CONCLUSION: This album is the God of all gothic metal albums! It contains a harmony that is difficult to create and/or find in this world. We all will miss master Morten Veland, but it seems that Tristania can move along in order to keep on creating good music!
This is where it all comes together. Without Morten Veland, Tristania had to beef up their sound to compensate and the result was this. Vibeke Stene's vocals are worthy of Maria Callas at her best, and here she is joined by devoted rough and clean vocalists, and what sounds like a massive tabernacle choir from hell. Symphonic influences and even a hint of electronic sound enter the frey to complete the profile of this grand monster of gothiness, quality, and pure listening joy.
What does that all mean? It means an opening fury that functions like classical gas for metalheads. It means the following song, Wormwood: The only song to outdo Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. Then sad, heartbreaking music like tracks 3 and 5, broken in half by the angry riot of track 4. And so much more. There is Variety but there is focus. There is strength and sound and fury, but it's tempered with sadness and gloom. There is innovation, and that innovation is not restrained. Tristania have broken free, and before the subtlety of Ashes and Illumination, came this beautiful work. Should the world end, I will find my Vinyl copy, put it on track 2, and die happy.
Tristania's World of Glass is so different that any other album I've ever heard. I went through a sort of Gothic Metal phase in my life, and picked up every single Gothic Metal band I could find. I heard all of this praise about a certain band called Tristania, and decided to give them a listen. The highest rated album according to the Metal Archives was Widow's Weeds and I didn't think twice about downloading it. I got a rather solid album, gave it about five runs through, and forgot about it a month or so later.
About a year or so later, I heard about Tristania again. I had completely forgotten that I even owned Widow's Weeds and downloaded World of Glass as though it were an album of a band I'd never heard of before. I played it and all I could think was 'WOW!'. It was so different than anything I knew, so unique, so original, so beautiful... Even to this day, at least a year or two after I first stumbled upon this jewel, the tracks blow my mind, and seem to find on my MP3 Player over and over and over again. Aside from Vibeke Stene's unmistakable voice, Tristania is unrecognizable from their Widow's Weeds times and it wasn't until a bit later that I learned that they were the same band.
World of Glass give gothic metal a new meaning. Unlike bands such as Nightwish or Within Temptation, this music is actually GOTHIC. The ambience is there, with the choirs and the cold, soaring voice of Stene, and the lyrics are inspired and intellegent. The music is executed perfectly; not one change should be made anywhere on the album, which is more than can be said for 99.999% of all albums ever written. They know what to write and where to write it and thus have written what I consider to be one of the greatest albums of all time.
For example: on The Shining Path, it is easy to believe that Vibeke is being burnt alive, as the lyrics dictate, because she sings with such emotion. The harsh vocalist (don't know his name, which is unfortunate because he may be the most perfect harsh vocalist I've ever heard [Quite deep, but not too low]) lays down his lines so flawlessly -- 'Heathen, Heathen' standing out, creating a sort of mini-chorus. Genious. The song draws to a quiet outro, but then the strong gothic choir, placed so cleverly, slaps you right in the face, bringing the song to a huge climax you won't soon forget.
And that is just the first song. During the 56 minutes of this album, there are violin solos, gothic choirs, quick-paced heavy guitar riffs, beautifully melodic acoustic guitars, creepy keyboards, awe-inspiring vocals, and memorable song-writing, which is something I find is very rare in metal music. I will give another honorable mention to the three vocalists on this album, who all three do a flawless job.
I recommend this album for any person that can stand operatic vocals. Seriously, an album like this should be passed around to anyone it could be. It's ambience, intellegence, and creativity are unrivaled by any other band that is labeled as gothic metal. It should have a genre of its own.
Unfortunatly, Tristania never released an album with a spark like this ever before or after. And with the parting of the great Vibeke Stene, it is unlikely they ever will.
For those who like highlights: The Shining Path, Tender Trip on Earth, Lost, Deadlocked, Crushed Dreams (Difficult for me to chose fewer)
"World of Glass" is the first album released by Tristania after Morten Veland's departure. Many people (including me) thought that the band will not manage to achieve the greatness that they had achieved with Morten. However, they proved us wrong.
"World of Glass" consists of a female vocalist (Vibeke Stene), a clean male vocalist (Østen Bergøy) and a harsh vocalist (Ronnie Thorsen). This is the only one of their albums in which all vocalists appear equally. Their previous two albums and "Ashes" mostly featured harsh vocals, while their latest opus "Illumination" barely has any growls. "World of Glass", on the other hand, has amazing equilibrium between the three vocalists. Although a song like "Lost" might lack Vibeke, the album makes up for it by giving us "Deadlocked"; a song almost entirely sung by her.
This album is Vibeke's finest hour. Her voice is amazingly powerful, yet not strictly operatic. She does, however, reach amazingly high notes which make you shiver. The best example is on the 3:18 mark in "The Shining Path"; which is one of the most beautiful moments of the albums. Seriously, her voice is the definition of purity and beauty. You never hear her take breathes between lines (which unfortunately happens with some female vocalists) and her voice never sounds thick (I mean you can clearly hear what she's singing). This tone of voice, unfortunately, isn't found on "Ashes" and "Illumination" (yet she still sounds great). The highlights of her voice are "The Shining Path", "Deadlocked" and "Selling Out".
Østen is also amazing. His voice gives seriousness and class to every song. He appears in almost every track, and he is no less important than the other two vocalists. On the title track, Østen sings his heart out. It's safe to say that "World of Glass" is the best track in Østen's career.
Last but not least, Ronny Thorsen. As you know, he is only a guest vocalist from Trail of Tears (which isn't very different from Tristania, if you want to check them out). His voice doesn't differ a lot from Morten's. Unlike some gothic metal bands, growls aren't added just for the sake of contrast; they're actually as important and as frequent as the female and clean male vocals. Also, they're not the shrieks and screams like some gothic metal bands have. Ronny's best moment is undoubtedly on "Lost".
Let's leave vocals and move on to music, which is as perfect as the vocals are. This isn't easy-listening metal, or the "I feel like I'm on a rainbow" metal that bands like Edenbridge play. It's perfectly executed gothic metal combined with violins, choirs and electronic keyboards.
Violins play a significant part of the music. They appear quite frequently, yet not in every track. They help to add beauty to the present evil atmosphere. In "Deadlocked" and "Selling Out" the violin parts amaze me.
Choirs are one of the best parts of the album. I consider them as part of the band. Unlike some people say, they don't sound like a church choir. Well, to say everything, the male choir in the intro of "Wormwood" is a bit church-like, but I seriously don't find anything wrong with that (note that in the rest of the songs they don't sound church-like at all). If you're like me and enjoy choirs in metal, then "World of Glass" is right up your alley. Just listen to "The Shining Path" and "Wormwood" and you'll know what I mean.
Keyboards are very different from older Tristania. They're not the usual melodies that were present on "Beyond the Veil". Instead, they take a turn to the electronic side. They're also not a big part of the music as they were during Morten's era. They are, however, as important as the rest of the instruments. They add on to the dark atmosphere present on the album. In "World of Glass" and the intro of "Crushed Dreams", the keyboards are mind-blowing.
Let's move on to the lyrics. They're not the same gothic poetry that Morten used to write. They are, however, very meaningful. It's hard to describe them in general, since every song has a different subject, yet they're all very beautiful.
Now, I don't usually write a track-by-track review, but this album is just too tempting. None of the tracks are less than perfect. So, I'm going to describe each track (note that I don't have the cover of "The Modern End")
"The Shining Path" - This is my favorite all-time song. It starts immediately with disharmonious choirs singing in Latin, then Vibeke takes the lead (after a whispered phrase from Østen). She plays a witch about to be burnt (which perfectly fits the gothic metal genre). There's also a beautiful high note sung by Vibeke around the 3:18 mark. Then the growls enter, along with continues choirs singing one of the catchiest choruses I've ever heard. "The Shining Path" is the best song I've ever heard until now.
"Wormwood" - This is also among my favorite tracks of the album. Like "The Shining Path", it relies a lot on choirs. It starts off with a male choir that might sound like a church choir (but you'll get used to it), then the whole choir enters singing a catchy, Latin-sung chorus. The best part of the track is the bridge sung by Vibeke (when she sings "Come join this toast..."). It ends with the catchy choir-sung chorus. The song protests against the writings of the Book of Revelations.
"Tender Trip on Earth" - The shortest track in the album. It wastes no time in intros, instead it starts immediately with Ronny's harsh vocals. Like the previous two songs, the chorus is incredibly catchy. However, this times it's not sung by the choir. It features great singing from Vibeke. If you listen attentively, you can also hear an acoustic guitar in the background.
"Lost" - This is a track that a lot of fans seem to hate. It's true that Vibeke isn't a main vocalist here, but she's actually singing in the great choir parts present in the song. The song is almost techno, and almost focuses entirely on harsh vocals (except for the occasional choirs). The violin parts are also amazing. The level of slickness and experimentation make "Lost" one of the better songs of the album.
"Deadlocked" - From the heaviest track, we move on to the softest one. "Deadlocked" features only Vibeke (with a few whispers from Ronny). It starts with awesome piano work from Einar, and then the strings enter. Like the previous tracks, the chorus is really catchy. If you like Vibeke's singing; it doesn't get better than "Deadlocked".
"Selling Out" - Similarly to "Lost", this song has a lot of techno elements (especially the intro music). It features equal presence of all three vocalists. It talks about Morten leaving the band. "Selling Out" has to have one of the most beautiful violin parts of the album; they're simply breathtaking. Vibeke's parts of "I'm running out of..." are exceptionally beautiful and get stuck in your head for a long time.
"Hatred Grows" - This is a song that talks about war. It starts off immediately with a choir, later taken over by Pete Johansen on the violin. Vibeke's singing is amazing on this song (mostly when she sings quickly the part of "Kill and be killed..."). The song features a lot of choirs and it also contains one of the best quotes of the album; "All is fair in love and war and peace" (which is sung by Østen). Again, Einar's talent is very evident in this song.
"World of Glass" - What a song! It starts off with electronic keyboards, and later the guitars and drums enter. This is Østen's finest hour. He sings most of the song. Vibeke's parts are also as breathtaking. This song has one of the best lyrics of the album. It talks about how fragile life is. It also contains the best line of the album; "I'm a falling stone in a world of glass". "World of Glass" is among the best tracks of the album.
"Crushed Dreams" - This song has one of the most memorable intros I've ever heard; one with electronic keyboards accompanied with Vibeke's beautiful voice. After 50 seconds or so, the whole band joins in (with violins included). From then on, it's 6 minutes of pure class. Like all their albums, the last song summarizes the whole album; "World of Glass" is no exception. Once again, we have a great equilibrium between the vocalists. Choirs also sing a short, yet still catchy, chorus.
I never did a track-by-track review, but the uniqueness and greatness of every track on "World of Glass" is just too much to resist. My favorite song is "The Shining Path" (obviously), but the other eight songs are also exceptional. Just note that I've heard "The Modern End" and it's not as good as these because of the lack of vocal contrast.
So, overall this is my favorite album of all time (the length of this review shows). It combines everything I look for in music. Even though I give quite a lot of 100 ratings to album (mind you, they all deserve them), this is still better than all of them. It’s not just flawless; it’s the kind of music that I always dreamed of hearing. Their other perfect albums ("Widow's Weeds" and "Ashes") are also flawless, but this is just too special for me.
I’d suggest this album to fans of Epica, Sirenia, Nightwish or Penumbra. However, none of them can beat this (no album I’ve ever heard can beat this).
This album completely took my breath away.
When Morten left Tristania many people considered this to be the end for Tristania's greatness as he was the main songwriter and composer. I believe this was a good thing because Morten did not have a very good voice unlike Vibeke, making it seem foolish he should be the main vocalist and he is much better off with the excellent mellodies of Sirenia (and with a female vocalist of more similar talent to his own). This also allowed Tristania to incorporate new ideas. World of Glass has the best of old Tristania (epic choirs and the like) combined with the best of new Tristania (especialy the fantastic male vocals).
This is not standard fare easy listening syphonic happy goth metal. Expect something very different from Nightwish and their clones (ie Epica). This is not easy lsitening or epic. It is dark and very evil, with alot of black metal-esque atmosphere, yet very beautiful. With slight classical and electronic influences, this is the way gothic is meant to be.
Female Vocals - Vibeke has a beautiful voice, not the operatic bombast of Nightwish or Therion or not poppy like the assorted Dutch goth singers either. Also thankfully she does not gasp between lines like her equivalents in most other gothic bands. Her voice is soothing yet very powerfull in its clarity and what I can only describe as 'purity'.
Clean Male Vocals - Osten's voice is dreamy and also beautiful, not as dramatic as the other 2 sijngers but provides as much emotion. He is far better than the many 'Suomi-goth' male singers.
Growls - Provided by the frontman of Trail of Tears. Unlike most gothic bands they are not tacked onto a few deep album tracks to gain some kind of 'street cred' amongst metal fans. They are an integral part of the music as mush as the other 2 vocalists. His voice is mainly the deepish growl of proper death (not horrible Laihoish shreiks) and ocasional goes into high pitch, but never tastelessly. Unlike most of his equivalents, he successfully sounds very evil.
Choirs - They sound like an extension of the band, not an add on. Often they are disharmonious to suprisingly successfully convey feelings of terror and disorientation.
Guitar - Unlike the vast majority of gothic metal bands the guitar is not a mindless adition to add the aformentioned 'metal cred'. There are no solos or Maiden-esque catchy riffs but it's not that kind of music. The clean guitar is subtle but beautiful and the heavy parts are there only when they benefit the composition, [which is often, as it is metal].
Drumming - The way the drumming shifts perfectly between ultra fast heaviness to softer slow parts is masterfully seamless and really stands out, which is very rare for this genre.
Keyboard - Don't expect the typical epic mellodies, the keyboards add a slightly electronica-like dark but soft atmosphere to the music but don't dominate
Strings - The violin parts appear ocasionaly, and are always fantasticly beautiful. They are not there to add 'epicness' but beauty and sadness'
Lyrics - Often intelligent and emotional, not the best ever, but very good all the same.
Shining Path - Perfectly conveys the terror of the subject (a witch burning, how perfectly gothic). The pace and power is breath taking.
Wormwood - Very sinister, lots of choirs and a very beautiful part form Vibeke. Pretentious yet well written anti-christian lyrics. The songtitle is awesome.
Tender Trip on Earth - Great guitar and vocals and perhaps the most beautiful and romantic chorus I have ever heard. The rythmic growls contrast nicely with the mellodic parts.
Lost - Quite good choirs, but the albums low point, slightly irritating growls and uninspiring songwriting.
Deadlocked - The softest song. The growls are only occasional whispers. This is Vibeke's finest hour, especialy the chorus. Beautiful.
Selling Out - Good song, very good chorus. Interesting subject with Morten's accusations at his band of selling out themselves.
Hatred Grows - Great parts from Osten, generaly great song.
World of Glass - Alot of electronic influence here. Very haunting.
The Modern End - A slightly dull bonus cover, all sung by Vibeke, not bad but not very exciting.
Crushed Dreams - Everything that makes Tristania Tristania to perfection. Awesome ending.
If you like beautiful vocals and atmospheres, and a good dose of darkness, this is perfect. The new album is comparitively simple, dull and stripped down and the older albums were not as haunting as this. For me, this is the Tristania album to own above others. Actualy the gothic metal album to own above others.
'Tears falling form the sky, words from a lullaby, everything beautiful dies
so now we hang in there, though we are blessed with sin, you make my heart...
...you make my tired heart sing'
Tristania's third release, World of Glass, maintains the gothic metal aspects of their music but musically differs quite alot from their previous releases. Whether this is good is an entirely different issue altogether. One thing that is instantly recognizable is that Vibeke Stene, the enchanting female vocalist is given much more opportunity to shine on this album than the previous Beyond The Veil. Her vocals are consistently beautiful but one thing that has changed drastically is the music and the lyrics. The clean male vocalist provides solid vocals in a loaded arsenal, but is never anything too dynamic with them.
The mastermind behind Tristania, guitarist/male growl vocalist/lyricist Morten Veland had parted ways with Tristania and formed Sirenia. This ended up being a tragedy and a day of joy simultaneously with Tristania making this great album and Sirenia my favorite of the two. The guitars in general arent as aggressive(ala beyond the veil), more slow/doomish riffs(ala widows weeds) with better production. In this reviewers opinion the lyrics aren't nearly as well written although lyrics were never my cup of tea. The growled vocals are great but are lacking in comparison to Morten Veland as well. One final thing worth noting again is the electronic influence on this album. Present on the new Sirenia album as well(coincidence) and I appreciate the diversity but I don't believe it helped the album as a whole(this is tristania)! If one prefers the symphonics on Lost over Pale Enchantress(Widows Weeds), well all the power to him. It is important not to forget this aspect of their work. The violins, keyboards/piano/synth etc which go excellently with their new sound but are lacking the power of old tristania's dark haunting atmospheres.
To conclude, Tristania's World of Glass was a bit of an experiment that went well but whether it lives up to their legendary name in gothic metal is debatable. Most of the album consists of great tracks with a few inconsistent parts and very little mindblowing material unlike their previous releases. Still gothic metal in the Tristania vein fused with slight electronic elements and more melody and accessibility than ever while also noting Vibeke's increased vocal duties(I love her voice) and obvious difference in musical stylings with the departure of the key member.
Favorites: Deadlocked, Crushed Dreams
Deadlocked is one of the most gorgeous songs I have ever had the pleasure of hearing in my life. I dont like signalling out songs on an album but I've rarely come across a gem as such.