Release DetailsLABEL SPV
RELEASED ON 1/24/2005
posted on 1/2005 By:
When the multifaceted Morten Veland resigned his position as chief composer in the widely acclaimed Norwegian goth outfit Tristania to focus all of his energy into his new brainchild Sirenia, the remaining members were at an utter loss on a creative level. While Morten's final album with the band (1999's Beyond The Veil) was sheer masterpiece through and through, the effort that followed (2001's World Of Glass) was a shattered representation of a band once great. The album's missing link was more than apparent and overall it was largely disappointing. After a short period, Veland unveiled the phenomenal genesis of Sirenia titled At Sixes And Sevens, which many consider to be on par with the last release he forged with his former bandmates. Tristania began to slowly sink into mediocrity, but Morten and company stepped into the spotlight and truly shined.
As the Tristania we knew went up in flames on World Of Glass, we now find ourselves sifting through Ashes. Four years in the making, their 2005 outing poses more as a rushed attempt at regaining lost notoriety than an album that captures the essence of what initially made this band so appealing. While Ashes is ultimately a step forward in many respects, the record fails where it is needed most, in the songwriting department. The songs offered are decent at best and, for the most part, lack their own definition and identity. Few of them are genuinely cohesive or memorable.
With some of the more customary Tristania characteristics present, "Endogenesis" and "Equilibrium" are the two standout tracks on Ashes. Acoustic atmospheres that are topped with the sultry vocals of Vibeke Stene are backed by violins, cellos, and synthesizers and bleed brilliantly into heavy guitars and harsh male vocals that even surpass those of Veland. Sadly, Stene is not as prevalent on this disc as she has been in the past. At times taking a backseat to the varied male vocals, her voice acts more or less as an accent to the music rather than a feature.
In many aspects, the newly evolved Tristania sound is somewhere between Opeth and Nightwish with a touch of latter-day Katatonia and Agalloch thrown into the mix. The musical aim in '05 appears to be centered around melodic moods in the songs rather than technicality in the musicianship. There aren't any overly flashy riffs or drumwork presented. The band takes on a less is more mentality on this record, but with a sleek production that makes for an easy listen, Ashes will be accepted by both the long time fan and the newcomer. Embrace and enjoy!
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