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This Storm is Category 2 at Best - 65%

karma_sleeper, July 10th, 2007

Mediocre at Best

Storm marks yet another stylistic change for Theatre of Tragedy. Long gone are the days of eerie gothic metal with stunning piano leads and ethereal vocals marked by their debut album and Velvet Darkness They Fear. No more are the quite unpopular electro pop influenced productions Musique and Assembly. What stands in place is a ridiculously commonplace and accessible offering to trendy crowds who decide good “metal” is what the radio tells them it is.

This album is marked by crossfade after crossfade, the same vocal style utilized by Ray in the band’s previous two releases, and songs chock full of hooks and admittedly catchy melodies. Once again, a duet of sorts is forged between Ray and Theatre’s new vocalist Nell. Nell is quite talented at what she does and creates a soothing atmosphere in every track. Musically, I found Storm to sound like a cross between a crappier version of Musique and Aegis. There’s a lot of polished guitar work here, and while the electro influences have passed for the most part, the keyboards still play a large role in shaping the ambient structure of the songs.

Unfortunately, however, the songs pretty much all sound the same. Ray mumbling some stuff as a lead into a chorus, then Nell and the rest of the band kicking it up, playing some catchy hooks before letting Ray murmur some more lyrics. Tracks are usually completed by choral repetitions, then rinse and repeat. This formula quickly wears thin as there is virtually no variation between songs in terms of tone or composition. Within this mire of mediocrity a couple songs stood out to me. The title track is a strong opening and no doubt a favorite by many who appreciate this album. Debris is an excellent closer that still strikes a chord or two in me. Other than that, there’s not much to see here. After hearing one song you get the sense you’ve heard them all before.

While I can admit that there are some very catchy elements to this CD and some good melodies, I still can’t get over the fact that Theatre of Tragedy can’t seem to nail down a style they want to keep playing. Long time fans like me are no doubt going to be disappointed by yet another musical shift. We just can’t stop yearning for another Velvety injection of gothic metal goodness. But to those who are just beginning to know the band or the genre, then it’s a pretty safe bet you’ll enjoy Storm. Just don’t expect it to carry you away.