Tristania - _Widow's Weeds_
(Napalm Records, 1998)
by: Pedro Azevedo (
Rather than starting with the expectable "Yet another symphonic doom band with female vocals" kind of comment, I'll just say that, despite the fact that this style is getting crowded, Tristania manage to rank up there with the genre's very best bands. Of course Theatre of Tragedy and Within Temptation come to mind when listening to Tristania, but there are enough personal elements to be found here to keep this album from falling into the rip-off category. But what counts the most is that Tristania are a very talented band, and the album shows just that; fine use of keyboards, guitars and drums, occasional violin and very good vocals. Death grunts and such dominating throughout most of the album, Tristania are still, like any band in this genre, dependent on the female vocals' quality. Fortunately for them, Vibeke Stene has a superb voice. _Widow's Weeds_ features re-recordings of two tracks originally found in Tristania's self-titled debut MCD, but both are excellent and, in my opinion, including them was an acceptable choice -- they take advantage of the better production facilities, and the MCD mustn't have sold much anyway. Nevertheless, it's still a worthy album even for those who do own their debut, since it is nearly 40 minutes long plus the two re-recordings (over 50 minutes total). Except for the slightly weaker "Angellore", the new tracks are fortunately similar in style and quality to the older ones ("Pale Enchantress" and "Midwintertears"), with "Evenfall" and especially "My Lost Lenore" being the best. Highly recommended for anyone who's into romantic doom metal.
(article published 4/13/1998)
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