Theatre Of Tragedy - Assembly review
|Band:||Theatre Of Tragedy|
01. Automatic Lover
02. Universal Race
06. Let You Down
10. Liquid Man
We, as a race fear change? vehemently. We as, for lack of a better term, metal heads, are particularly afraid, it seems. Whether or not you want to say that bands like Paradise Lost, Metallica or Ulver 'sold out? or just wanted to try something different, these discussions continue with each subsequent release that does not embody the ?original? or 'srue? sound.
Theatre of Tragedy is no different. Once at the top of the heap in the early years of the Gothic Metal scene, theirs was a unique mixture of metal, doom and gloom, classically tinged with funky subject matter told through barely comprehendible lyrics. Aegis , their crowning achievement, was a culmination of all that had before for the band. It was layered with beautiful melodies, artful compositions and the luscious combination of male/female vocals that they had come to popularize. It was, and is still, a great album.
But, time moves on, and so does Theatre of Tragedy. With 2000 came Musique and the firestorm of outrage began in earnest. ?Sellout!? was heard far and wide and the 'srue? fans began to retreat into their basement with their leather jackets, spiked belts and vinyl copies of Ulver's Bergtatt and Amorphis? The Karellian Isthmus. While Musique wasn's perfect, to be sure, it still had a lot to offer the open-minded listener who was willing to let bygones be bygones and give the new ToT at least a fighting chance.
Fast-forward two years. With a new second guitarist in tow in Vegard K. Thorsten, the Musique lineup sought to move apace with what was started on their last album. The end result would become Assembly, in many ways a continuation of the work presented on Musique without much of its harsh, sometimes unnerving edges.
Thankfully, one of the edges to be smoothed were male vocalist Raymond I. Rohonnyi's vocals, which no longer sound quite so machine garbled. Another problem evident on their last release was in some of the more kitschy, almost obnoxious songs, like the title track and radio single 'Image'. On Assembly, the band seems to far more confident with the message they're attempting to convey and aren's spending half of their time thinking about how different they're going to be.
But, don's think for a second that this is a return to the days of olde [note the ?e?], noooo sir. This is still 21st Century ToT, complete with modern lyrics, electronic bursts and an almost slick, hipster vibe; the music would be more apt in an of-the-moment club or discotheque than piped through the boom box in the basement during your next Dungeons and Dragon's game.
Liv Kristine has, in all honesty, never sounded better. The tale she tells about the man who just wants to sweet talk his next victim into bed in 'Automatic Lover' doesn's sound forced, much like her sexual advances did in 'Image'; she's telling a story that she wants you to hear and, dammit, you're going to listen.
And the pretty songs haven's sounded prettier. If you?ve accepted the changes at this point, you?ll totally love 'Play' and 'Starlit'. A kitschier track, 'Superdrive', is one that perhaps even some of the more open ToT listeners might not quite appreciate at first. But, if you just give it a chance, and you open your mind to the messages that the band is trying to tell you, you're actually going to totally dig it. Other tracks like the aforementioned 'Automatic Lover', 'Let You Down' and 'Envision' also give some punchy guitars to the whole electronic mix, as well.
So, despite all the whining and pleading and accusations that the band's sold out or whatever, the Theatre of Tragedy of the 21st century is probably here to stay and Assembly is another bold step for them, and is certainly far more improved over their first foray into this brave new modern world.
|Ok first of all I must say I don't even know why I'm writing this review, because this album is far from being metal, but still in most record stores and magazines they are labelled as metal. That makes me wonder what kind of metal I must categorise this into? Techno/Pop metal maybe? Well for me it's not metal and others can categorise this however they want. I think the only reason I decided to write this review was to bash the band because no band have ever made me so disappointed before (thinking of their great old releases like Aegis).
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