Out with the old, in with the new. Singer Catherine Paulsen is no longer with Trail of Tears, and in her place is Kjetil Nordhus, also of Green Carnation. This now gives Trail of Tears two male singers, the other being Ronny Thorsen, and the switching off between death metal and clean vocals works very nicely on this aggressive juggernaut of an album. Call it symphonic extreme metal if you will, but Free Fall Into Fear is extremely varied and has plenty of hidden nuances. One second, the band hits you with a furious onslaught of death & power metal ferocity like on "Cold Hand of Retribution" (like some bastard child of Hypocrisy, Iced Earth, and Evergrey), and the next the mood can turn atmospheric and gothic as on the chilling "Frail Expectations".
Plenty of keyboards courtesy of Frank Roald Hagen adorn "Watch Your Fall", a lurid and menacing piece featuring crunchy guitar textures from Runar Hansen and Terje Heiseldal, as well as the tight battle between clean and growling vocals. The band sounds a bit like early Soilwork on the pounding yet technical "The Architect Of My Downfall", and slow down a bit on the doomy crusher "Drink Away The Demons". Other highlights include the raging melodic death metal of "Dry Well Of Life", and the grinding, galloping, melodic classic "Carrier Of The Scars Of Life", which sounds like a long lost Nightrage or Evergrey piece.
Trail of Tears has put together one of 2005's most symphonic and melodic extreme metal albums, and one that should appeal to many fans of metal's multiple sub-genres. Good work guys!
1) Joyless Trance Of Winter
2) Carrier Of The Scars Of Life
3) Frail Expectations
4) Cold Hand Of Retribution
5) Watch Your Fall
6) The Architect Of My Downfall
7) Drink Away The Demons
8) Point Zero
9) Dry Well Of Life
10) The Face Of Jealousy