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Enrapturing Tendrils - 77%

Five_Nails, November 30th, 2018
Written based on this version: 1998, CD, Napalm Records

Lost in the grip of 'Widow's Weeds', Tristania finds it forward momentum driven by drum and guitar as its peripheral expansions resound from Vibeke Stene's high vocals and synth by Einar Moen. Incorporating a fulfilling chorus of seven singers as well as moments of live violin ensures that Tristania takes it sound as far as its production will allow. Economical still, the improvisational polish allowed in Tristania's first full-length still smacks of a band in its infancy while the delivery of each musician comes with the caveat that it is not yet able to attain its due. That is the main issue with 'Widow's Weeds'. The production is so utterly undeserving of the majesty provided throughout these compositions that it scarcely shows Tristania receiving its deserved recognition in spite of the growth of the band in seven new songs that expound upon the direction first founded in singles like “Pale Enchantress” and “Midwintertears”.

After a small “Preludium”, the flood gates open and an overwhelming wail escapes, crying to a chorus as Catholic as it is sacrilegious. 'Widows Weeds' takes Tristania's theatrical touches from its self-titled demo and runs right off to the opera with them. A soundscape consisting of punchy bass with sizzling guitar over the top makes up the main thrust of this album. Sopranos overwhelm the flanks as growling joins piano for what becomes a mechanical onslaught. “Evenfall” is a behemoth of a song at its start and, after shattering the wall of opposition in its front, finds its every contingent mixed up and singing of its victory over the field which it has conquered. As in Arthur Wellseley's old adage, “nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won” and Tristania, even in its gains as a group still laments the harbingers of its sonorous sorrows.

Laborious and unforgiving this opening track relentlessly drags you by taut hooked chains, like an apostate brought to divinity by inquisition, into every crash of snare as though whipping starved and weak prisoners only to the satisfaction of the tyrannical when the willful mind attempts to escape such a torturous grip. “Evenfall” shows that Tristiania's main grip is in the forward momentum of its songs. With peripheral expansions in the high vocals from Stene, the band's metal attempts elaborating fluidly between these two songwriting directions and, as each harmonious struggle passes the minutes by, will find one force will out in the cavalcade of violin, choir, and keys appearing in support of the swing.

Intermixing the hazy and disheveled demo tracks with a newly profound elaboration on the early style, this fifty-three minute set ensures an epic comes together rather than merely indulging a long cry in a corner. Bringing more audible components together including synth, easily noticed variation in the guitar, and bringing the harmony closer to the front of the mix in “Midwintertears” makes these songs pop as they examine the expanse over which this cliff-side village of desolation settles. Songs like “December Elegy”, “Angellore”, and “Wasteland's Caress” make the thumb-twiddling “Pale Enchantress” lose its luster in comparison as the former tracks move and bounce with the unkempt depression of '80s English rock bands, “Angellore” especially showing promise in its Type O Negative hints of mystery and intrigue while playing with that Anglo-Saxon style. Examples as these easily denote the steady improvement of Tristania as it fleshes out its vision, incorporating the harsher elements of modern metal with epic moments and poppy rock elements to create a band with a broad and vibrant musical panorama.

In a newly crisp and thick production this album appeals to the energy more typical of the band's later music as it leaves the hazy despondency behind in favor of a more flavorful and varied approach that is both catchy and expansive. Weighing down its guitar with more bass, making the rhythm effectively punch, and tastefully tightening the guitar's space in order to allow for its sharp notation to pierce the overall mix with a clear point rather than maim as it cuts, Tristania takes some steps toward getting its sound just right. On the instrumental front is where the band finds itself getting to its tightest moments in composition and performance. The piano sound bounces beautifully in tandem with the clip clop of double bass, creating a clear and audible bridge between the low end and the searing guitar across the top, making this lovely momentum take flight through “My Lost Lenore” as it delicately glides through the many emotional aspects of palpable grief and roiling rage that a torn heart cycles through.

A glaring omission, “Cease to Exist” is a song that was cut from the full-length, appearing in early 2000s re-issues of 'Widows Weeds' from various record companies as well as in the 'Midwintertears' compilation, released after the band's second full-length 'Beyond the Veil' and in anticipation of 'World of Glass'. The nine minute cap on the demo seems to have brought more influence than is shown in its appearance credits though, as its booming choral sound and catchier approach becomes an apparent leitmotif throughout the band's career, bringing arpeggio and ambiance in drastic harmony to the fore of such a foreboding presentation.

Lending more prominence to the soprano tendrils that wrap themselves around each verse, bringing more bass-heavy integrity to its low end, and sharpening the sound of its shrill guitar, Tristania shapes itself up to be a powerful and precise unit in 'Widows Weeds'. Though the band is still in its early stages, having yet found its most impactful notes and its most listenable production, some precious moments arise throughout the album as “Wasteland's Caress” cries across the desolate soundscape, double bass trots to twinkling keys in “Evenfall”, and the singles of yesteryear find fitting accompaniment in “December Elegy” and “Angellore” to expand the breadth of Tristania's grief and anguish, emblazoning the name Tristania in the lexicon of gothic music for years to come.

You'd be better off listening to something else - 12%

The_Desolate_One, December 2nd, 2011

Gothic metal is a weird genre. One can lump in it catchy, up-beat semi-heavy gothic rock like Sentenced, Poisonblack and Tiamat, together with semi-doomy, semi-symphonic bands, with violins and lots of keyboards accompanied by female vocals, like Sirenia, Draconian, The Sins of Thy Beloved and, of course, Tristania. Even when this was a genre I kind of liked I still couldn't quite listen to Widow's Weeds, or at least remember any passage of it after listening. Going back, nowadays, going through it feels like a chore. Take a big bag of crumbs from My Dying Bride's post-Turn Loose the Swans era, with all the violin and keyboards (with the difference that MDB had Martin Powell), add some flaccid black metal riffs, operatic female vocals that were oh-so-trendy back then and male growls that lean more towards raspy than properly guttural, and there you have it: an album completely devoid of any power.

Not that it doesn't try – it tries, hard, way too hard maybe – and that can be noticed ever since the bombastic beginning of “Evenfall”, which, despite sounding a little jarring to my ears due to Vibeke's background wailing, at least attempts something that resembles a riff. But that really goes nowhere and, fuck, this song begins to sound like Enya or any other of those new age groups half-way through, before it comes to a piano and violin solo and repeats the starting structure. But, no matter how hard they try, there's no feeling here, really. Don't let goths (well, the remaining ones that like Tristania, at least) trick you with their depressive little act: there's no feeling at all. You know Tristania is aiming for a melancholy sound, if only because of the lyrics, but they never get that point across. The vocals sound distant and emotionless – possibly because they want so much to sound operatic that they become background-ish, like a “chorus” effect on a synthetizer, not so bad when they're supposed to be in the background, but annoying when they want to be in the spotlight – and they're not at all like what you can hear in the voice of the female singers of Draconian or Theatre of Tragedy, or even Tarja from Nightwish, despite my distaste for this band and musical style. Even the male vocals fall flat, devoid of the anger, despair and power, especially if compared to any earlier doom or gothic metal harsh vocalist, like MDB, Paradise Lost or Anathema. The only exception would be the track “Angellore”, featuring Østen Bergøy as its main vocalist (with Vibeke in the background and Morgen on the chorus), who would later become their full-time clean vocalist; his deep, passionate voice, despite the cheesy lyrics he's singing, is a highlight in this poor album.

And, yeah, the lyrics, these bad imitations of Romantic poetry are just as plain and emotionless as anything else here. Angels everywhere, flowers, embraces, autumn, winter, the night, the moon (“pale enchantress”), shadows, tears and “my heart this” and “my heart that” – nothing but clichéd imagery, with no emotion and no real meaning. If at least the songs told some sort of story, like Cradle of Filth sometimes does (no matter how cheesily), maybe then we could gather something, but alas, no such luck. It's like they came up with an automatic gothic lyrics generator that makes vague melancholy-ish lyrics or something. ”Dark... thou embrace my bleeding heart / My dreams... uniting our tearful eyes... enchanting / At night... I kiss the serpent in thy tears / For years... thy sorrow I've mourned” Come on.

Then, as it goes, the rhythm section and guitars come off as equally unimpressive, with fuzzy trebly generic riffs, the type that a black metal band would have discarded for having found better stuff to put in their songs when not blastbeating away. What remains, then, are violins and keyboards, and quite a lot of those. I can't say they're bad per se, but there's always that problem that if you want “classical” music (a terrible term, but I'm using it for the lack of a better word), you're better off listening to actual classical composers. Go for Debussy if you want violin and piano, or Chopin, for something more romantic, or Liszt, or anyone, really. There are ton of composers that did this infinitely better over a century ago. And while we're here, go for real opera if you want operatic vocals as well.

In the end, I guess this is the real problem with Widow's Weeds: while many metal bands resort to violin, piano and string ensemble synths, when not entire real orchestras, to give atmosphere and highlight their metal elements, Tristania has barely any metal elements, or worthwhile metal elements, to be begin with; thus, they use the classical-ish elements to distract from this. The only saving grace here is the track “Angellore”, where there's actually some decent, memorable, guitar playing instead of pseudo-classical stuff masquerading as metal – though it's still more of an upbeat “heavy gothic rock” song. The fact that it features the only vocalist in the band who isn't a musical equivalent of Keanu Reeves helps a lot too.

So, the bottom line is: if you like this album, there are good chances you'd be way, way better off listening to classical composers. If you like this genre of flowery “beauty and beast” gothic metal, go for any of the other bands I mentioned above. If you insist that you absolutely must listen to Tristania, then at least go for Beyond the Veil, which despite still sharing many of Widow's Weeds's flaws, features much better songwriting and more memorable metal instrumentation.

For Thee, My Enchantress.... - 100%

h_clairvoyant, December 27th, 2010

When I first stumbled across Widow's Weeds, it honestly left little, if any, sort of impression on me. I mean, the beastly song "Evenfall", I noted, was a great song. However, it wasn't until a year or so that I actually felt anything for this album.

Perhaps it's the cold, almost desperate nature of it; but when you listen to it for the first few times, you REALLY have to listen to it. It's not a typical album. Widow's Weeds is unlike anything else out there. It's dark, haunting, otherworldly, beautiful, mesmerizing, dreamy, calming, unnerving, wild, perfect... It's really impossible not to love, after you penetrate the hard outer shell of it.

Tristania managed to create an unmatched, unrivalled piece of work; every track is well-balanced and well placed. The album flows flawlessly. The violins, the soaring voice of Vibeke stene, the buzzing guitars, the angry growling, the steady beating drums, the soft piano melodies, everything fits impeccably into it's place. Fans of gothic metal who have yet to hear Tristania's debut have not heard true gothic metal. The ambience, so masterfully fashioned by the band, seems to place the listener in an alternate reality, one of sadness and darkness and love and hate.

Those who are interesting in an entirely unique listening experience, you have come to the right place. Tristania's Widow Weeds (or any of their starkly varied releases) is bound to impress, if given enough of a chance. Allow Tristania to re-invent music for you...

Unique and brilliant - 90%

OllieS, February 14th, 2010

Gothic Metal. Sounds pretty abstract, doesn’t it? With Melodic Death Metal you can pretty much guess it’s Death Metal with melody included. But what on earth is Gothic Metal? The answer to that, is simply, Metal which has that beautiful dark atmosphere defined as ‘gothic’, something which pervades this album’s entire being. I once read someone saying something along the lines of ‘Widow’s Weeds was the first and last Gothic metal album ever, and miles better than all the boring rip-offs it spawned’ – I think that sums up the album’s importance to the genre pretty well. What's surprising about this album is there was never a Gothic music period – Tristania managed to pretty much create a genre by themselves on Widow’s Weeds; an incredible achievement.

The album’s main theme, which all the music and lyrics are based off, is the dark side of love. The sadness, the longing, the pain – you know it. Despite it being negative, because the album is based around love it is exceptionally beautiful; because love is so important in our lives the album is a very powerful listen. Besides from these more primitive emotions that form the album’s foundation, there are more complex, secondary emotions present, such as enlightenment (‘Angellore’), mystery (‘Pale Enchantress’), desperation (‘Wasteland’s Caress’) and relief (‘Evenfall’). These add more depth and of course meaning to the music at hand.

The songwriting on Widow’s Weeds feels incredibly natural, seeming to simply follow the emotional aspect of the record. The seven songs (excluding the short intro and outro) all range between six and nine minutes in length which allows each song to fully develop, although a few drag on at their length (‘Midwintertears’, end of ‘Evenfall’). Structure wise, some songs follow a more set verse-chorus arrangement (with instrumental passages separating the verses and choruses); others are more progressive, although there is repetition of passages tying them together. The album also rarely repeats itself, meaning replay value is high.

The vocals on this album are its life and soul. They consist of a frequent yet always suitable exchange between harsh vocalist Morten Veland and female vocalist Vibeke Stene; the classic beauty and the beast spectacle. Morten sticks to his signature style of somewhere between Death and Black vocals; his voice is powerful (in the chorus of ‘Evenfall’ it’s as if he’s physically attacking the listener) yet contains lots of emotion (a lot more than most harsh vocalists), really delivering the pained aspect of the album. Vibeke is of course the polar opposite. Despite recording four more albums with the band after this, her voice is at its prime on Widow’s Weeds, sounding like an angel more than ever. Each and every vocal part she has is a highlight, delivering the utmost melancholic beauty to every track. There are also a few other dimensions to the vocals. Østen Bergøy makes his debut with the band on ‘Angellore’; while sounding a little muddy his baritone adds a whole other dimension to the music and makes up for the song being fairly simple otherwise. An eight person choir is also used; while barely popping up the chorus of ‘Evenfall’ is one of the best things I’ve ever heard, really representing the gothic feel of this record.

The band’s performance on Widow’s Weeds is fitting for the record and displays great emotion; the band members are totally connected with the songwriting at hand and, more importantly, each other. The keys are perhaps the most important instrument here – the fantastic lead piano melodies form the basis to most of the songs (see the phenomenal intro and chorus of ‘My Lost Lenore’), while the synth adds a whole other layer of depth to the music. The guitars, despite their poor (dissonant) production, play terrific doom-influenced riffs (dark and slow) but also some faster groovier ones (see the chorus of ‘Angellore’), Black Metal-influenced tremolo picked (‘Wasteland’s Caress’) and even some warm acoustic passages. The minimalistic (for Metal) drumming is incredible – the intricate bass drum patters mean no beat is ever boring, the use of cymbals for accents and feel adds the necessary spice to each passage and the snare drum is used effectively for very satisfying fills. The bass playing, like in all Tristania is of high quality, adding the necessary background to the music with the drums. Just like the bass drum patterns, the bass lines are always fitting and interesting. Finally, the violin and cello, where used, add an aspect of beauty which can only be achieved by a classical instrument – the violin solo in the climax of the fantastic ‘December Elegy’ contains so much emotion it is difficult not be moved by it.

I do not give this album a 5 due to there simply not being enough amazing songs on here. ‘Midwintertears’ drags in parts while ‘Wasteland’s Caress’ feels rushed, lacking anything palpably great. Besides those faults the album is of superb quality, with proficient songwriting, powerful emotions, beautiful melodies and a unique yet relatable atmosphere within. Highly recommended for those interested in the darker (and let’s face it, better) reaches of Metal.

The real thing, what else can I say? - 94%

Nightsward, December 13th, 2008

Really, very few words could accurately describe this band. Tristania are some of the crown jewels of gothic metal, surpassing pioneers Theatre of Tragedy with their debut album, Widow’s Weeds.

The cover does a near-perfect job of illustrating what the potential listener/fan would get from here: melancholy, darkness, and more melancholy. Yet, not even the greatest artist’s brush could really depict what treasures you’d find in this art for the ear, because THIS melancholy includes beauty, and who can really paint a picture of both?

But anyways I’m losing sight of the topic. As beautiful as it is, it isn’t one of the cheesy, orchestra-and-keyboard-riddled mess that pollutes the once-honored halls of symphonic and gothic metal nowadays. In fact, the keyboards are used quite tastefully, more for adding beauty, depth, and an extra dimension that wouldn’t be present otherwise. Rarely does it ever take the melody, but when it does, you get an earful of excellently crafted, easily memorable melodies, and, while they are occasionally repeated a tad too many times, they still somehow manage to keep the listener’s attention.

The guitars are remarkable as well, playing some memorable riffs when in the main or giving strong support to the keyboards when the keyboards take hold of the melody. Sadly, the bass is not often audible, only popping up with the keyboards or at guitar-less parts. But, like every other instrument here, it is full of integrity, and plain awesomeness.

And it shows. It shows through in a set of six excellent tracks (the other two are instrumentals, as you might know by now, and one is just an average song). Not a single one is a hunk of filler. This is all solid instrumentalism, backed by excellent vocals.

But I didn’t mention those vocals yet, did I? THIS is the reason why the album isn’t the average, run-of-the-mill album. Those vocals are the foundation of this album, and damn solid they are, too. Morten Veland’s growling…goodness, where to begin? His growling is some of the harshest, most powerful growling I have ever encountered. Morten tops every other gothic metal growler in my book. (Anders Jacobsson of Draconian comes close, but doesn’t quite get there.) Also being the core songwriter until he left…well, I am at a loss for words. Excellent, excellent, excellent.

Yet, despite the genius of Morten, the album still wouldn’t reach anywhere close to the top peak if it weren’t for Vibeke. I haven’t a clue as of where to start, so think of it like this: If Morten and the rest of the band are the rocky expanse of a snow capped mountain, then Vibeke is the snow. Without her, the beauty element would be next to nonexistent. She is a bit like Floor Jansen in the fact that she takes regular female vocals (Though good female vocals can never be called just “regular”) and mixes them with operatic vocals. But like Liv Kristine, the gentleness and beauty shines. And hell, it shines bright.

So therefore, it’s pretty obvious that the best songs on here are the ones that make the best out of her presence: Pale Enchantress, December Elegy, My Lost Lenore. (Although I do love Wasteland’s Caress, the song that doesn’t really showcase the singing, but I’ll get to that later.) Perhaps the lone exception is Midwintertears. Yes, it has a great vocal part at 4:08, along with the keyboards, but that’s really not saying much when it’s chock full of meandering, boring riffs. But still, it’s not a strictly BAD song. It’s enjoyable enough if I’m in a good mood, and that’s saying something.

My favorite stands as My Lost Lenore. THIS is a prime example of gothic metal at its pinnacle. Keyboards that manage to never get boring no matter how many times they’re repeated (something I haven’t figured out the solution to; repetivity often bores me to death), Vibeke’s never-failing vocals, the trademark growls of Morten, and some prime songwriting. Need I say more?

I think I’d put Wasteland’s Caress second. The second to last song (the last one is the instrumental “…Postludium”, something I find completely unnecessary), it has a sense of definite finality, and I would have preferred this song to be last. Hard-driven guitars, an excellent acoustic guitar interlude, vocals that seem to be a notch above the rest of the album, and keyboards, keyboards, keyboards. Even though female vocals are not showcased too well here, this has grown on me to become one of my favorites.

I haven’t mentioned the other tracks, but those tracks are also filled with the passion, darkness, and unwavering beauty that is the hallmark of the first two albums of this band. Nowadays the fundamentals of gothic metal seem to be broken up and relaid—nowadays you find maggot spawn where you should find, well, gothic metal. And this album most certainly belongs to the latter. And of course, it ended up breeding a host of imitators. But for the real thing, for gothic metal’s definite apex: get this. Have a listen, then you will see exactly what artistry once was, and never will be again.

Highlights: Pale Enchantress, December Elegy, My Lost Lenore, Wasteland’s Caress, Angellore

Just Wow - 95%

Sue, January 29th, 2008

My favorite band got off to a hell of a start. What Theatre of Tragedy had started and suggested possible reached maturity in the young hands of Tristania. Never have I heard a debut album so strong, so composed, so simply purely ideal as this. Though the demo version of Midwinters Tears is slightly superior, this album is nearly flawless. And it sounds so good, so hard yet so seductive, so dark and gloomy and sinister and epic in it's scope and so personal in content- And all without being too obvious or pushy or even catchy. This is music on par with Beethoven, and Metal that has in my opinion, never been surpassed.

The structure is the gothic ideal: Prelude, Postlude, a symphonic centerpiece that like a chocolate truffle whets the appetite at every layer. Each individual song is a master work of wild and vicious growls, meloncholy, sad, disturbingly hurt tone and form, and as if all that werent enough to blend black metal's finest hour with pure gothic strength: There is Vibeke Stene. By sheer coincidence the most beautifull woman ever had the most beautifull voice ever, and most talented soprano skills, and Tristania found her, and where Paradise Lost might have relegated her to background vocals, Tristania put her front and center and when the choruses subside and grunt decays, she takes over and all else goes quiet, like the angels have held the winds still that we may hear the full triumph of that voice: And that was not hyperbole, it was an understatement. Vibeke is capable of what Maria Callas dreamt of, and what metalheads ever since have appreciated as the most simply beautiful sound in their libraries.

What this album accomplishes and introduces cannot be written in any review, I can only suggest why it is what it is: The music itself is what only music, not image nor poem can be. Widows Weeds is the harbinger of Tristania's reign and alone is a work of quality, high concept, and pure gothic music and gothic metal like only Norway can produce. If only Varg Vikernes could have heard what his progeny would create, If only Grieg could have known what would be done in his homeland in the far distant future, If only the cavemen beating rocks together could only have guessed what beauty would emerge from their childrens lips...Forget them all, go buy it and hear it for yourself.

The roots of all greatness - 97%

TommyA, March 7th, 2007

"Widow's Weeds" is Tristania's debut album: the roots of the greatness this band is delivering until this very day. Although their style is always changing, they're still carrying the same Tristania touch that was established in this amazing work of art.

A lot of labels are given to "Widow's Weeds" when it comes to genre. I've seen people labeling it as operatic metal, death metal, doom metal and even black metal. Not one of them describes this album. Just because it contains an operatic female singer and a harsh vocalist, it doesn't make it operatic or death metal. It's the perfect example of gothic metal. It was the first pure gothic metal album. It's the roots of a genre which, today, is overcrowded with less-impressive bands.

Like all Tristania albums, vocals are the highlight. "Widow's Weeds" contains three types of vocals; a harsh male vocalist, an operatic female vocalist and a clean male vocalist. Appearance follows that same order. So, throughout the album, you'll hear Morten's growls more often than the other vocals. However, they're not the irritating screams that a lot of gothic metal bands feature. On "Widow's Weeds", harsh vocals are very well done; they're a pleasure to listen to and you are always able to understand what is being sung. Just listen to "Pale Enchantress" to find the greatness in Veland's voice. Moving on to the female vocals. What can I say? Vibeke Stene is a goddess. Her voice is what I imagine the singing of angels to sound like. If you think I'm exaggerating, you've obviously never heard "December Elegy"; a song which makes you feel like you're in paradise. Last but not least, the clean male vocals. Osten has the kind of voice which adds seriousness and class to a song. Like the other two vocalists, his voice is very powerful and delivers a great amount of emotion. However, he only sings abundantly on "Angellore".

What about the music? To describe it in a single phrase, I'd say it's beautiful heaviness. It can go from the harsh guitars on "Wasteland's Caress", to the serene violin sound on "December Elegy". Einar Moen is the one that impressed me the most. He's an amazingly talented keyboardist who gives an incredibly addicting melody to every track. If you don't believe me, go listen to "My Lost Lenore". He's definitely my favorite keyboardist in metal

This album has no weak songs. All 9 tracks are unique and contain elements which aren't found in others. The songs which I would consider highlights are "December Elegy", "Angellore", "Wasteland's Caress" and "...Postludium". I consider "December Elegy" as a highlight because it's gives you a break from the constant heaviness of the album. It’s amazingly executed with violins and great keyboards. Not to mention the fact that it's one of the best songs in Vibeke's career. "Angellore" is also a highlight. It's somewhat different from the other songs in the album, which is what makes it stand-out. It's mostly guitars (not a lot of bass involved) and violins. However, even though it took a few listens to get into, it's a very addicting track. Moving on to my favorite song of the album; "Wasteland's Caress". This is a heavy track with guitars playing a very big part of the music. The parts from Vibeke leave an exquisite contrast with the constant growls in the song. It's the song I look most forward to hearing when I listen to this album. The final highlight is "...Postludium". It's a very short instrumental track with a choir-sung chorus that sticks in your head. It's probably the catchiest track of the album, not to mention the fact that it ends the album perfectly.

Having said all that, there's actually one track which is slightly less impressive than the others, but by no means weak; "Midwintertears". Even though it has a great combination of the three vocalists, it's just not up to the same perfection as the rest of the songs on the album. Maybe it's due to the fact that it's between two amazing songs that I tend to skip it. However, it's still in the area of excellence.

Overall, "Widow's Weeds" is a great album. Even though Morten did slightly better on Sirenia's debut album "At Sixes and Sevens", this deserves as much praise (given that this was the very first album in his career). "Beyond the Veil", Morten's second album, isn't as good as "Widow's Weeds", yet it's still a good follow-up to this.

So, in conclusion, this album will blow you away. It will transport you to an entirely different world. It has everything a gothic metal album should have. However, I wouldn't recommend this to you if you've never heard Tristania's music. "Beyond the Veil" should be your first Tristania album, but you must get this right after.

Wanna be in Paradise? Listen to this Album - 100%

Archaeopteryx, November 17th, 2004

If I didn't listen to this album, I wouldn't be listening to metal at all. It's unspeakable, I can't beleive this was made by human beings living on Earth like us.

The vocals in Tristania is kind of unique, you can find a variety of excellent vocalists; Vibeke stene, simply the best female vocalist out there, her voice is just enchanting. Morten Veland: Does the growls in an excellent way, and sometimes he does the high pitched shrieks (like those of black metal), and eitther sounds perfect; he is from the best voclists in this genre (if not the best). Osten Bergoy: Clean vocals which fit the music perfectly to comlete the fascinating harmony. And the choir which give their music its unique sound.

Most of the music is slow melancholic beauty. The violin plays a major part creating a mood of heavenness (try listening to December Elegy and you'll know what I mean)

The best thing about this album is that each song is completely different than the other, not one single similer track to any other track.

It ends with a killer track which features only the choir, (pretty catchy if you like the chorus thing)

Whatever kind of music you listen to listen to this album, and you won't be dissapointed. It's more than just music, more than just metal... It takes you to another place.

Essential gothic metal album! - 93%

WitheringToSerenity, April 17th, 2004

Widow's Weeds is the debut of the legendary gothic metal band Tristania. With the exception of Theatre of Tragedy, there is no other band or album as instrumental in creating this unique genre as Widow's Weeds. It combines elements of intricate beauty and harshness like no other genre. Led by Morten Veland's excellent growling vocals combined with Vibeke Stene's immensely powerful and soaring operatic female vocals. This combination is known as beauty and the beast vocals. It mixes lots of heavy, distorted guitars with the occassional flourish of acoustic brilliance. No guitar solo's though, so don't listen to this album expecting this! Wouldn't fit at all. The rhythm section stabilizes the sound but doesnt do much more. Last and most importantly, are the variety of different instruments Tristania employs with this metal attack. From using piano/keyboard's to violins all the way to even utilizing choirs this CD is fitting for anyone interested in these styles being merged into one journey of immense atmosphere and beauty.

My main critique of this album is that I can't help but notice is the rather poor production. Particularly with the guitars. In comparison to the successor and pinnacle of Tristania Beyond The Veil, the guitarwork could be considered poor here. Still some nice variety of acoustic and electric guitarwork. But the distorted guitars sound so much better and less fuzzy in later albums. The symphonics are outstanding on with this album. I consider them the best of any Tristania album. The increased use of Vibeke on vocals is also a huge plus. Its the contrast of vibeke and morten veland's growl that make it so great though as well as the dark, beautiful atmosphere created by Tristania. Definetly darker music but and much more enchanting than morbid. I could give a song breakdown and say this song is great, this one is awesome but all the songs contain well placed elements of what I have mentioned. No filler, just memorable gothic metal tunes. I believe this album is worth a shot to anyone with an open mind on metal.

Personal Favorites : December Elegy, Pale Enchantress, My Lost Lenore

Widow's Weed! - 90%

PowerMetalGuardian, June 6th, 2003

Tristania! Certain bands come to my mind. Lacuna Coil (not as good as Tristania), Therion, etc. There is one thing this album has that makes it awsome, and that is attitude (mood). It starts off on Preludium, which takes about 30 seconds for us to hear. It starts off with a choir singing, it sets you in the mood for what is to come. You think everything is peaceful, but it isn't and we soon learn that in the next song. Preludium goes right into Evenfall. The choir remains, but now we have distorted guitars and some awsome male vocals, which are kind of growly/harsh, but to the point of actually understanding what he is saying. While that is going on the backing vocals are coming in with excellence! After some awsome guitar work that would put Nightwish to shame, we have a more calmer side of Evenfall. A nice piano piece with some talking vocals, really gets the mood going. Violins play a nice part, then guitars, then the male vocals, just awsomely displayed in this song.

If it is one thing this album shows it's a great tone and mood, but also awsome harsh vocals. The other Tristania album I've ever heard didn't have much of the harsh vocals. This does a good job of mixing the vocals up. One song with mostly harsh, and the next with mostly clean female vocals. But what makes this album even cooler is the way the vocals are intermixed. For example on the song December Elegy, it starts off with the clean female vocals, which leaves a sweet feeling. Then BAM, harsh vocals that will make you feel like something has just gone wrong. Definetly a mood grabber! Not to mention the guitar riffs go wonderful with the vocals. There is also a cool distortion on with these guitars, almost like a buzz sound, it's killer!

This album is very complex. It shifts moods, sometimes too fast to catch up with it. On some moods you feel evil, hate, and death (ie. Midwintertears). While other times you feel peaceful and calm (parts of Angellore). This album definetly slams you to the ground and sends you back for more! It has awsome female vocals and male harsh vocals (with some male clean). There are no real solo's, but who cares! The buzz distortion is awsome; the riffs go great with the singing. Along with the sound effects, choir, violins, and everything else, this album is one happening piece of music. So what songs are good? All of them! Absolutely every minute of this album is worth hearing, there is nothing wrong with this album. It's a great mood grabber; not to mention it starts and ends on an awsome note (Preludium and Postludium). Everything you would want out of this kind of music is all right here. I recommend this album to everyone, at least to try it out...then go from there!