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In Elysian Daydreams - 89%

Five_Nails, November 30th, 2018
Written based on this version: 1999, CD, Napalm Records

Drastic and bombastic, Tristania provides a fine example of the breadth of heavy metal in sinister symphonic tones, gothic theatrics, and a classic example of cleanliness and propriety meeting the hazy gloom of such an inverted style, making its simultaneously catchy and esoteric visions transform from an alluring siren into the violent succubus as its sinister other side appears. Flirting with the many tropes in classical music from startling operatic highs to a symphony of strings, sometimes synthesized and other times implied through an electric and acoustic guitar combination, 'Beyond the Veil' is a descent into perdition promising the privations populating such a plane with angelic allure.

Simultaneously, Tristania denies the classical sound its monopoly with a tinny drum recording that becomes the catalyst for more techno oriented exchanges later in the album and hazy harmonies that swell in short bursts. The schizophrenia of loosing fire at such gorgeous constructs is a common theme in metal, a juxtaposition that relishes the relationship between carefully created beauties and a destructive counterpart. In Tristania this becomes a major focus as subtle hints of the harsh reality 'Beyond the Veil' become a world of strife as the album progresses.

From this approach is a worthy wellspring of fresh and tantalizing variety, decadent and arousing while also crisp and cutting in spite of such lengthy and expansive riffs and harmonies that diabolically document the derangement of one's descent into a world of ritual and death. A long swinging churn to the title track brings unmistakable choral highs and tinkling cymbals, the wailing web of guitars delicately settles along a middling pace that easily worms into an ear and, in reaching apogee through soloing while buffeting such cries with double bass, finally finds the sonorous swing expand into a prickly deluge to satisfy even Satyricon with its torrents of grain. “Aphelion” and “A Sequel of Decay” make obvious the turn of intoxicating tones and inviting momentum into the demonic as you enter the embrace of the succubus, a creature literally fucking her way through “Opus Relinque” before tearing out swollen hearts. To say that Tristania's approach is transparent is an understatement, the obvious balance of harmony and hatred is belted across your face like domestic violence at the opera, but that doesn't diminish the theatrical enjoyment of the theme or the profane potency of “Angina” when a cavalcade of choirs clash for control.

The creativity and craft employed through this album ensure a consistently inventive approach that allows the band to experiment at times but also limit itself to only its most presentable attempts. Where “Aphelion” drags at times, its methodical sound accentuating a dormant beauty far from the heat of the Sun, its subtle movements enchant in symphony from the flowing chorus punched by double bass to a heart melting interlude where beautiful highs and a weeping verse pluck at each artery. The nearly eight minutes of this song shows the band patiently holding itself back until its dam breaks and ducts overflow. A piece that by far outruns the track lengths of the rest of the album, “Aphelion” becomes a staple show of the careworn strife breaking into rage that tantalizes Tristania and appropriately harbors its drastic breadth.

Shining in the spotlight are the sopranos from Vibeke Stene, her incredible vocal delivery brings beauty and strength with every cry and fulfills a an enticing half of a filthy combination when joined by Morten Veland's growls. Opening “A Sequel to Decay” with a choir of intense cries easily shows the rhythm employed in this nearly chanting operatic while Veland's range is more protracted, embracing the decadence and magnificent sound of a gruff and massive presence similar to Peter Steele of Type O Negative. At other times Veland employs heaving growls and, with a choir aided by drummer Kenneth Olsson and guitarist Anders H. Hidle, the ensemble completes its medieval majesty. The twinkling apogees and insidious abysses greatly compliment the instrumental deliveries showing that Stene and Veland's contributions are among the many masterstrokes in structuring as well as sounding out the album to make it such a memorable and astounding experience.

Synth plays a prominent role from tinkling classical piano keys and symphonic strings to the wild jarring horns later in its hellish progress. Employed by Einar Moen, one of the major forces behind the songwriting, the placement of synth enlarges the range of this album by giving it the unmistakable theatrical characteristics that capture the magnitude of Tristania's ambition. The snare drum, pacing the percussion at a laborious and lamenting step, has the sharpness of shattering glass and compliments these bouncing rhythms as guitar joins symphonic strings, winding around a choir to create machinery of chaos and hatred by the turn in “. . . Of Ruins and a Red Nightfall”. Like the heartless clanging denoting the fires consuming Fangorn Forest, Isengard melts and molds metals into a new mechanism of conquest.

An ever-energetic motion below the snare finds constant implementation. Double bass brings personality to the central hammer as it pumps like a bellows and brings heat to make malleable the clanging cymbals overhead. Like an endless ride down winding trails in “Lethean River”, the clip clop of double bass is where one notices how riding these percussive fills and interludes typify the bridges between verses and choruses. As majestic as mounting an eagle to escape from the imploding Mount Doom, these amorphous undulating movements create in sound the defined, sinewy, and romantically detailed image of Pegasus taking flight.

Where the band made emotions meander through its opera early in the album, things become more straightforward and streamlined through the back half. A personal favorite, “Angina” brings Stene's voice so high that it nearly becomes as comical as “Take On Me” and its high C. Still, the cascade of choir tumbling down from such a gorgeous summit is the epitome of Tristania's unusual and calamitous sine wave. Cymbals dancing in concert with piano keys while walled into a pit by a crowd of double bass conjures images of a stately show where metalheads meet aristocracy and all gather in lively celebration of the music. Distant organ and marching guitar riffing conjure images of a “Heritique” transported across space-time as flames engulf the stake, a raucous crowd receives its satisfaction, and a star bursts from a blasphemous chest.

Tristania's treble is mainly concerned with an energetic and elaborate labyrinth of strings, upheld by Morten Veland and Anders H. Hidle who tirelessly strum through lengthy lamentatious riffs that harmonize and break from one another with a smooth and studious flow, sometimes finding frenzy or chomping into a juicy rhythm, but never disabusing itself of the bountiful beauty found in resonating strings. In its most frantic moments, clarity is lost in the very treble oriented mix making such a saturated end become slightly hazy and indistinct. In a song like “Aphelion”, where its lumbering gait holds court for the majority of the song, this grandiose sound has a crispness that becomes muddled as layers are added on. Still, the majority of the production is listenable enough though in need of a bit more range on its low end to lend a tighter fist to this expansive energy and bring the necessary punch.

Tristania is a succubus in sound, one that many a man would happily embrace. Wearing a sinister grin as it consumes your soul, its once alluring form quickly contorts into a vengeful demon. Brimming with brief but compelling moments, 'Beyond the Veil' happily babbles like a brook throughout its enticing bubblegum bits, a denial of the darkness lingering behind the lovely cover of stark-naked sirens seemingly sleeping among the rocks of a hot spring refuge. Where the woman in the foreground appears to be enwrapped in a peaceful slumber, the fog settling across the background has begun to obscure bodies unceremoniously lying where they stood showing, as one figure lords herself over the fallen, that slaughter must take place in order for one's ascension. Like its magnificent music, Tristania's foreground of beauty belies the sinister reality that awaits 'Beyond the Veil'.

A song of decay - 100%

EvinJelin, September 17th, 2014

It's quite a shame that my only review for Tristania was a negative one, because I actually like this band a lot. So, here's a new review to show I'm not too angry at them.

As i noted in my other review, Tristania has always introduced a new sound on every album, and succeeded in this new path. While "Widow's Weed" was traditional gothic/atmospheric/doom metal, "Beyond the Veil" is more a missing link between gothic and symphonic metal, even though it's a little hard to classify. But it's a masterpiece just like "Widow's Weed".

It's that kind of complex album, not prog but almost, with long songs and constant changes. The songs alternate between loud choirs, quiet vocals and growls, quiet moments and heavy riffs, sad and cruel lyrics. The three vocalists are great. Morten Veland is one of the few people that can make growls sound as emotional as clean singing, Oysten Bergoy has a very beautiful voice. I really like the moment when he sings "An angel strays upon my door, so frail and lost within" on "A Sequel of Decay". As for Vibeke Stene, I love this woman's voice. Much like Liv Kristine when she was in Theatre of Tragedy, she has an ethereal (read: very high pitched and soft) voice, but hers has a little more depth, and a certain darkness, we could say. She is as good as always to sing softer moments, but she does another thing with her voice that we hadn't heard before: she sings in a completely operatic style, but that is a little buried, as if she was singing with a choir, except she's alone and sort of does the whole choir on her own. Even though she doesn't have a big kind of operatic voice (like, say, Tarja Turunen or Lori Lewis), her singing still brings a certain power to the chorus of "Angina".

As for the lyrics, from what I can understand, it's about, well, decay, decline, deterioration, things in that register. While the first songs are more focused on depression or loneliness, with "Opus Relinque", it gets angrier, to later involve a devastating epidemic of angina, violent desires ("Heretique" and its "Let us be the ones to put the thorn in thy eye" line), and a final track called "Dementia", where the narrator describes himself as "vile…surreal". So this is another album about a descent into all sorts of negative things. Its appeal comes from its slight scariness and theme of madness, but also its very good music.

Tristania doesn't really have any bad album (at least they didn't when they were still good), but this is definitely one of the most remarkable. It leaves a strong impression and is very nice to listen to, almost like one beautiful song/fascinating story...

The Quintessence of Gothic Metal - 100%

Khull, September 5th, 2008

If there was a single album one could use to describe the sound and atmosphere of gothic metal, it would be Tristania's Beyond the Veil. Tristania has made it their business to compose masterful gothic metal, and indeed they continue to do so 'till this day, however Beyond the Veil proved both that former member Morten Velend was the mastermind behind the band, and that this was their all time peak.

Beyond the Veil opens up with a very somber and beautiful section by Vibeke Stene, presenting the listener with a sort of peace. This is short lived, as within moments the listener is assaulted with pounding drums and guitars making way for Velend's beastly vocals.

Those first two minutes are enough to bring forth a state of rapture as the rest of the album unfolds. From the ass-kicking riff on the opening of Aphelion, the soaring choir brought upon by Vibeke in A Sequel of Decay, the seductiveness of Opus Relinque, meandering melodies of Lethen River, a fantastic duo performance by Velend and Stene on Angia, and ...Of Ruins And A Red Nightfall, all finally closing off with more intensity and soaring male choirs on Heretique, Tristania demonstrates their mastery of all instruments and song structures.

Indeed, all instruments are played to their utmost potential, and arranged and composed perfectly. There aren't any sections that are drawn out too much. Choirs, vocals, riffs, slower instrumental sections, all are proportioned perfectly, never leaving an overplayed feeling, just satisfaction, except in one regard. I felt Vibeke could've played a bigger part in vocals throughout the album. Her voice is too fitting to only appear as much as it did.

Definite highlights include ...Of Ruins And A Red Nightfall, A Sequel of Decay, and Angina. I've gotten a fair amount of disagreement, but I feel Beyond the Veil, the opener, isn't up to par with the other songs. That's not to say it isn't wonderful, but when matched up with the other tracks it simply falls short. All in all though, the album is the quintessence of gothic metal. Tristania emerges on top with this display of musicianship. Anybody looking to get into the genre, or needs assurance that gothic metal isn't the red-headed step child of metal, should definitely get their hands on this one!

The Height of Gothic Metal Part 1 - 100%

Sue, January 22nd, 2008

Before Veland's departure, Tristania brought forth this master work of their early says. Having outdone their kindred Theatre of Tragedy on their first try, they proceeded to make the best gothic metal album possible on their second. This album is rougher and darker than their later World of Glass, which would take gothic metal into a more orchestral, choral realm. A novice goth would find this one too hard to handle no doubt, but in those vicious attacks on the ears are hidden the truly sublime.

Each track here goes deeper into dark territory. From the beginning we are granted a work depressive and sinister in tone, that opens suddenly into sequences of beauty and orgasmic operatic heights, only to steal that away and continue an assault of fog and beasts. Nowhere in this variety of tones does the album slow or stagnate, never are we given anything to latch onto and hold like a leitmotif. Nothing here will seem catchy until maybe the 5th listening, and then only in the way that leeches catch on: This is not Andrew Lloyd Weber, this is a twisted dark group who know what they're doing, and don't hold back.

This album never degenerates into the hokum possible with utter Norwegian darkness or gothic fiction, it maintains it's place just above, always in view of the darkest most beautiful sounds, but never falls into it's possible pits of overdone potential (I'm looking at you, Therion...) If you have any interest in gothic music, this is surely as good as music gets.

Another powerful Veland offering - 95%

TommyA, March 8th, 2007

Following along the veins of "Widow's Weeds", "Beyond the Veil" is yet another masterpiece from one of the best gothic metal bands I've ever heard. Easier to listen to than "Widow's Weeds", this album is what I would recommend to anyone new to the band (or genre, for that matter).

"Beyond the Veil" contains excellent gothic metal with added symphonic elements. Like "Widow's Weeds", it includes a harsh vocalist (Morten Veland), an operatic female vocalist (Vibeke Stene) and a clean male vocalist (Osten Bergoy). Once again, harsh vocals appear more often than the others. Female and male vocals are a bit more frequent here than in the debut, but still don't have more than a quarter of the lyrics in each song. As always, the vocalists are flawless and deliver a lot of power.

Music is a bit different. Guitars are given a higher importance than before, and keyboards play a bigger part in the music. This creates a more accessible sound than the one present on the debut. However, it's not a big a change like the ones that are occurring between each of their later albums. You can still tell it's from the same band that released "Widow's Weeds". And also, like in almost every Tristania album, Einar continues to impress me with his talent and ability to make every track sound like paradise.

In my opinion, only two tracks would deserve a 9/10 ("Opus Relinque" and "Simbelymne"). The rest are all perfect and gripping in every way possible. My personal favourite would have to be the title track, which is the song that first got me hooked on the band.

This is probably the album I'd recommend to gothic metal fans who are new to Tristania, since it has a very accessible sound. “Beyond the Veil” is a stunning release, and takes the listener to a whole other world

The Gothic Metal album to own - 100%

Vulture987, March 3rd, 2006

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.

The tracks:
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.
2) Aphelion
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.
7) Simbelmyne
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.
8) Angina
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.
9) Heretique
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).
10) Dementia
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.

Could there possibly be a better album out there? - 100%

InSilenceEnshrined, March 23rd, 2004

Widow's Weeds was/is a great album, especially for a debut full-length. However, it's hard to find it great when compared up to the amazing Beyond the Veil.. Everything was at it's best here, the production, the instruments and especially the songwriting in my opinion.. Favorite tracks include ...of Ruins and a Red Nightfall, Aphelion, Opus Relinque, title track and Angina. The title track was the perfect way to start this amazing album. With it's great intro, first 30 seconds are rather quiet and sung by Vibeke Stene, then it picks up nicely with Morten Veland's well recognisable growl at 47 seconds in.. Other memorable moments for me on this album include 5:30-6:37 on Beyond the Veil as it slows down with some great clean male vocals at the end performed by Østen Bergøy, 1:13-1:50 on A Sequal of Decay with it's very chilling, melodic violin, 2:46-3:10 on Angina which is greatly sung by Vibeke Stene, she doesn't seem to have many big highlights on this album but this one really made a difference in this song to me.. But the biggest highlight on the whole album for me is the 6 minutes, 22 seconds that is ...of Ruins and a Red Nightfall, best blend of harshness and melody that has ever reached my ears, the riffage in this song is amazing, the keyboards help very much as well, if you listen to this song once you're likely to listen 1 or 2 more times at the very least.

Although many would disagree, I think Beyond the Veil easily surpasses any Theatre of Tragedy release or any of it's kind.. I originally planned to give it a 99, but that just doesn't seem like a fair judgement seeing as how it's my favorite album.. Easily the best gothic metal album ever released in my opinion..100!!

Let us be the ones to put the thorn in thy eye. - 82%

heavymetalvixen, January 20th, 2004

Tristania are a mix of gothic and operatic metal. Thats how I see their music anyhow. There is a great variety of vocals (death, clean male and female) on here, and they blend together perfectly. Most of the music on this album is harsh, but somehow the operatic female vocals manage to add something softer and more calming to the songs without ruining the previously mentioned harshness.
After reading earlier reviews of this album and listening to the album numerous times over the year or so that I've had it, I've just noticed that there are no guitar solo's. Normally one of the main things I look for is good guitar soloing, but Tristania's music sounds amazing even without any of the guitar solo's. Hell, I didn't even notice the lack of soloing untill someone else mentioned it to me.
And finally, even through all the savagry of the music on here, the keyboards and violins add alot of beauty to it. I enjoy it when a band can add some of those symphonic elements into the middle of a song without it sounding forced or out of place.

Best Tracks: A Sequel of Decay, Opus Relinque, Lethean River, Heretique, and Dementia.

Beyond my fantasy - 97%

VladTheImpaler, July 1st, 2003

This album begins with it's title track and starts of with some good female vocals, 34 seconds in the music starts and after 48 seconds the harsh vocals comes in my eyes quite surprising harsh vocals. The most unique thing about this Norwegian band is the three vocalist that is all specialist on different types of vocals and more surprising these days) they are all good!

Now these can’t happen? A band that has three great vocalist? Actually Tristania proves me wrong and if you like clean vocals, female vocals and not to aggressive type of music this is something for you!

After “beyond the veil” comes “Aphelion”(almost eight minutes long) that has some great keyboard sounds(though they are kind of weird). It has no clean vocals clean(made by the male vocalist) almost and it’s only a track with female chorus and male harsh vocals and it probably will surprise you many times since I it never ends!

In “A Sequel of Decay” the clean vocalist those his first entry! Quite boring to actually have three vocalist on stage. This is the “clean male vocals night” if compare to the other two tracks, though he dosen’t have to much lines to sing in this track. The first 5 songs is all over 6 minutes, 5 last has only one that is over 6 minutes and a total length of 52 minutes. Norway proves to me that they have good band that isn’t black metal.

This is easy the three best tracks and easy one of the better albums in –99 and Vibeke is a worthy opponent to Nightwish Tarja as the best female vocalist and this beats Lacuna Coils – “Comalies” pretty much in every way they can beaten in.

Nice tone for goth metal! - 72%

PowerMetalGuardian, March 22nd, 2003

Beyond the Veil isn't your usual metal, even compared to goth music. If you've never heard Tristania before, it is like Lacuna Coil. If you've never heard them it's like Nightwish, with both a women singer and a male singer with harsh vocals.

This album really didn't impress me all that much. You can barely hear the guitar riffs over everything else. The riffs are cool, nothing to get excited about though. There are no solo's which was very depressing. The symphonics are pretty cool, nice effects and all, but I think that it is overdone to the point of dullness. The vocals on the other hand are pretty good. The female can sing pretty good, which is like opera style. Some times she sings in the background when the male is singing, which reminds me a lot of Therion (but it sounds better than Therion).

The harsh vocals department is good as well. They're harsh vocals; deep growly tone, you either like it or you don't. Sometimes the guy will sing in a clean tone that gives it a nice edge, this kind of reminds me of Opeth (but the singer is more articulate with his tone, thus making it better than Opeth). Another great thing about this album is the keyboards, very melodic at times and at other times very 'Up and in your face' style, like Children of Bodom.

Another bad quaility is the length of the songs, most being at least 6-7 minutes, give or take a few. Sometimes the songs just seem long and drawn out. There are a lot of good (decent) songs on her. The chick even fakes an orgasm on Opus Relinque (interesting?). You see, there is one overall great quality about this album, and that is its tone. It sets a mood of darkness and melodic at the same time. It leaves great feelings upon the listener, which is something I always look for in these kind of genres. I recommend it to people who like goth stuff, or if your willing to try it, go for it. You might like it. I am just inbetween I guess.