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VERY Different but Good - 85%

karma_sleeper, July 11th, 2007

Who would have thought Theatre of Tragedy would create an industrial metal album with touches of electro clash and EBM? Well, they did, and it’s pretty a good album, too, despite some of the angry fans have to say about it. “Musique” was the second ToT album I purchased. A friend played “Assembly” for me and I wasn’t too impressed with it overall, although I did enjoy the sound. I wasn’t sure what to expect from “Musique” since I had also been exposed to the band’s earlier offerings. But I was surprised and pleased when I sat down to listen to it. Having been a fan of both industrial metal and EBM for some time, I was instantly at home with it.

This CD is primarily hard riffs, the band’s signature contrast of Ray and Liv’s vocals, heavy synth work, and many electronic trimmings. The keyboards definitely play a central role in deciding the direction of the tracks. This is a big contrast from the near doom like quality of ToT's first two releases. The pace of the songs is very upbeat and relentless. The songs are also shorter and much easier to get into. Almost every single one of these songs is a winner for me. Fragment, Crash / Concrete, Machine, Reverie, Cummute, and Image are where the album shines in my mind.

Theatre of Tragedy have always been a band that is hard for me to figure out. I found the lyrics in their previous albums so corny I almost couldn't take it. I couldn’t tell if they were admitting to gothic metal’s cheesy over use of “thee,” “thou,” and “hast” or if they were serious about it. And with “Musique,” I find myself in the same dilemma. Image is such a sultry song, and when Liv keeps going and going with the dirty talk it’s really too much. Lyrics in some of the other songs seem to border on the satirical. At times, the robotic tones of voice really get on your nerve, and at other times they fit perfectly with the music. The lyrics have a transhumanist / cyberpunk feel throughout and this is only supported by the excessive electro pop touches.

I don’t know what it is about metal, but every time a band undergoes a dramatic genre shift as with the case of ToT, there is always a group of fans that throws a fit and writes said group off as betraying the cause or whatever. “Musique” is a CD you have to approach and listen to with an open mind. Anything less will prevent you from enjoying the good album that it is. For me, this was easy since electronic music is another big part of what I listen to. For others who are more diehard when it comes to metal, I imagine it will be hard if not impossible to overcome their prejudice. This album is worth the buy if you’re into industrial metal and don’t mind excessive dependence on electronic elements.