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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