Some time ago, Tristania released the CD single "Angina", which gave a taste of what the world was about to hear on their forthcoming album. This album has now been released, entitled "Beyond the Veil", and as far as expectations based on the CD single were concerned, they have pretty much come true.

Their debut full-length effort, "Widow's Weeds", was one of the most hauntingly original albums of the year. The female/Gregorian chanting was something new and cool, added to music that was a bit like a sadder version of Theatre of Tragedy. Their new album takes them further a step on their own evolution, thankfully without alienating people who liked the original style.

In general, "Beyond the Veil" is chunkier, heavier and a little bit faster. The CD single already showed an inclination towards Samael's "Passage", primarily because of certain riffs and drum fills in "Opus Relinque". This trend holds true for the new album, too, and not just in "Opus Relinque" (now the full version instead of the radio edit, by the way). The first couple of songs are a little more in the 'old' Tristania vein, with more emphasis on vocals executed by the lovely Vibeke Stene. In later tracks the heavier drums sometimes get most emphasis, but soprano passages remain inserted here and there. Thankfully, the violins are still present, too. I know of no instrument more suited to convey melancholy, and what with the band now generally playing a bit faster (faster = less sad) they need that.

A great album.



Written October 1999


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