Tristania - Ashes - Album Review

Tristania

Tristania - Ashes - Album Review

Tristania
Ashes

Emerging from the deepest, darkest and coldest depths of Norway come Tristania, with their fourth album Ashes, a fusion of Nightwish (musical and geographical neighbours) style black, symphonic rock-opera metal with a classical twist.

Opening with “Libre,” Ashes introduces to us the three main vocalists, one female and two male, with it’s stand out operatic vocals, and strong death metal growl, and starts as it means to go

Tristania - Ashes - Album Review

on, with lengthy guitar solos, and eerie haunting vocals. “Equilibrium” quickly changes the mood from angry black metal, by opening with soft acoustic guitars and even softer vocals from the usually operatic Vibeke.

The psychotic entitled “The Wretched,” matches it’s angry name, opening as eerily as an old castle door in a horror movie, and made even more so by the phantom of the opera like organ. The dark metal nature returns with crashing drums and rescinding guitars, the angry growls, or extreme vocals as the band call them, make a return making the band sound more hardcore punk than black metal with a hint of classical/opera.

“Cure” is again very relaxed, with soft opera like vocals, which hauntingly drift like clouds over the acoustic guitars; in fact, they are enough to drift any listener away on a cloud. The band say every song tells a story, and “Circus” is undeniably a rock opera/storyteller if ever anyone heard one. Opening with haunting and spell like whisperings, “Circus” already matches the dark, haunting nature of the album, full of musical mood and story changes, each change telling a different story, before fading out with the chanting language and relaxed spa like music.

Another strong story telling song is “Shadowman,” which opens with sparse guitars, before building up the momentum adding guitar, vocal and drum layers, which culminate in a crashing climax. Shadowman adds another ingredient to the spell, and surprises the listener with evident strings, classical moments and eerie evanescence like pianos, all of which blend perfectly with the dreamy vocals of Vibeke, which show the bands dark nature lyrically.

“At night asleep, nightmares not dreams, drag me through the dark”

Lyrically the band are mostly poetic, with many mood changes, but the music is what really shows their mood changes and story telling nature, “Shadowman” alone changes moods like a manic depressive, one part calming acoustics, the next urgent and angry squeals.

This 42 minute album, which pursues a quality not quantity idea, only seven tracks long, but minus the fillers, preferring to pursue a formula which works. Closer Endogenesis is no different, and goes out with an energetic bang, trademark angry vocals but with equally surprising acoustic contrast. An element of surprise and a tingle down the spine moment is where all three singers come together choir like, rather than taking their own parts and showing us what they can do, and do so in a manner that is haunting and abit festive like. As one story ends and another begins in each and every song and in each and every album, this 4 th installment to the album story must come to an end. A must for Nightwish, and even Evanescence fans, or fans of dark metal alone.

http://www.tristania.com

Katherine Tomlinson

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