Tristania - _Beyond the Veil_
(Napalm Records, 1999)
by: Pedro Azevedo (
Tristania's debut full-length _Widow's Weeds_ [CoC #30] impressed me with its mix of fine melodies and bombastic passages, and it is through the talented blending of those two fundamental elements that their second full-length effort, _Beyond the Veil_, keeps up their quality level. A very varied record, _BtV_ frequently alternates between angelic choirs and thundering death vox, charming violins and aggressive guitars, and in general soft passages and stronger ones. Tristania were able to do this again without really repeating the formula of their debut too much, as the music itself includes plenty of new elements and details. This doesn't make _BtV_ a necessarily superior album to its somewhat simpler, but equally effective, predecessor; just different, even though the similarities are obvious, and fortunately Tristania did -not- soften up on this one. The variety of vocal styles used serves to illustrate the album's own variety: female vox, male and female choirs, death and blackened vocals, clean male singing... The guest male singer who performs clean vocals on a few tracks has a bit of a gothic tinge, but actually does a decent job and avoids sounding excessively misplaced within Tristania's metallic symphonies. The female vocals remain superb and the male vox highly effective; the keyboard work is also very good and the occasional violin touches are very welcome. The production is excellent. Main highlights for me: "Aphelion", "Angina" and "Heretique". Overall, _BtV_'s qualities may eventually take a while longer to fully appreciate than _WW_'s (at least that's what happened in my case), but _BtV_ is definitely a quality follow-up from this talented band who does have a remarkable grasp of this musical genre.
(article published 15/1/2000)
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