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Trail of Tears: Free Fall Into Fear

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!

Track List
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

Added: March 23rd 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Trail of Tears Website
Hits: 3386
Language: english

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Trail of Tears: Free Fall Into Fear
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-03-23 08:02:31
My Score:

I did not know what to make of Trail Of Tears when I first began the CD but I did realize very quickly that the group was onto something with this release. A dark mixture of Black and Gothic Metal with a number of vocal styles across the album make this an interesting musical journey. When you add to this some thundering drums and mood laden keyboards you have a band that can interest fans of multiple genres. Before this album, the band had singer Catherine Paulsen bringing a female vocal to the group but she has now been replaced by Green Carnations Kjetil Nordhus. This is a great band
for Kjetil to be a part of and since Green Carnation is such a unique animal as well I find his contributions to TOT all the more compelling. Now with two male vocals (the other being handled by Ronny Thorsen) a wider variety of drama is able to be presented to the listener. There was so much of a mix happening here with some slower "more Gothic" parts and then suddenly you are swept away in a pounding Black Metal riff that shows more sophistication than the genre is often afforded. I admit I found this album
incredibly powerful and can see it making a dent in the fan base of bands that have both an Atmospheric and Extreme sense to their music. Fans of bands like Samael and Tristania might enjoy this especially when they hear songs like "Frail Expectations" which begins with not only harpsichord but also blast drumming. Clearly, adding the talents of Nordhus gave this band a well-needed move in a Darker direction than they might have had by keeping the female vocalist. This seven member band is also steeped in some progressive styles for as each note hits you, you are able to sense the level of ability the band possesses. I feel Dimmu Borgir fans can find something in this as well for while not as Black as the Norwegian Dark Gods, there is a gloomy feel and symphonic edge to portions of the album. "The Architect Of My Downfall" is definitely one of these tracks and if not for the clean vocals at parts it could be mistaken for DB themselves. The other great side of this band is the fact that hailing from Norway they are showing the levels that Dark Metal can be taken to. Not all groups need to be cloning stuff like Dimmu, but can use some inspiration from the group and bring you into a realm that is entirely their own. Take the free fall into fear.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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