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Theatre of Tragedy: Storm

Theatre of Tragedy is arguably the first and most important band that pioneered the beauty and beast type of bands, utilising brutal death growls and angelic female vocals. With albums like Theatre of Tragedy and Velvet Darkness They Fear, they set an example to a million bands who followed their footsteps, with only few of them trying to bring anything new to the table. Rather, they just expanded on Theatre of Tragedy's songwriting, adding in the occasional non-metal instruments. However, after Aegis, the band delved into a very industrial sound, dropping their characteristic sound and opting for electronic music with lots of dancey beats.

As the band lost touch with most of their older fanbase, they continued to experiment with industrial soundscapes, mostly evident on Musique. The following album, Assembly, marked their downfall and led to the departure of female vocalist Liv Kristine (now in Leaves' Eyes). Now, after so many years, Theatre of Tragedy returns with a new singer, a new album, and a new direction, according to second vocalist Raymond Rohonyi. Nell Sigland from The Crest is behind the mic now and she has a very soft, quite poppy voice that gives some of the songs a distinct 80's pop flavour. Almost all songs are centred around the piano and synth work of Lorentz Aspen; he plays both solo piano pieces and electronic synth textures. Although Storm is no where near as industrial-sounding as Musique and experimental as Assembly, it doesn't really stray too far away from these albums. I guess it would be logical to say this album is a mixture of their previous two; mixing atmospheric synth work with subtle guitar harmonies and static drumming. On the title track, Nell sounds passionate, and thanks to the clever mix of Greg Reely (Paradise Lost, Fear Factory) her doubled vocals are really amazing. It's like she harmonises with her identical twin before crunchy waves of guitars begin to soar above the delicate piano melody. "Silence" is relatively heavier, with great whispered vocals and accompaniment by Rohonyi. Unfortunately, how much his vocals add to the overall success of the album is highly questionable. I still find his singing (and spoken parts) rather dull and uninteresting. There are moments when the contrast between their voices works though, such as "Ashes and Dreams", a song that alternates between dark male vocals and fragile yet bright female harmonies. However, songs like "Fade", an entirely piano-driven ballad with only sprinkles of guitar riffs heard; or the rocking yet creepy "Begin & End" are a lot better, mostly because they're sung almost entirely by Nell. "Exile" and "Disintegration" return to Theatre of Tragedy's industrial, dance-style music, with lots of sampled beats and processed vocals. The album is wrapped by another midtempo track which is mostly sung by Nell, save for the middle part where Rohonyi narrates something in a nasal tone.

Some fans will still enjoy this disc, but I feel it's still inferior to their earlier work. Then again, I should know better as they'll never go back to playing that type of music again.

Track Listing

  1. Storm
  2. Silence
  3. Ashes and Dreams
  4. Voices
  5. Fade
  6. Begin & End
  7. Senseless
  8. Exile
  9. Disintergration
  10. Debris

Added: July 5th 2006
Reviewer: Murat Batmaz
Related Link: Theatre of Tragedy website
Hits: 6231
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Theatre of Tragedy: Storm
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-07-05 06:29:02
My Score:

Theatre Of Tragedy returns with new recordings and most important of all - a new lead singer has joined the group. Stepping into the shoes of Liv Kristine comes Nell Sigland who really brings a lot to the table with her first outing as a member of the outfit. Kristine left a couple of years ago and now fronts Leave's Eyes with her husband Alex Krull and the members of Atrocity. The style she adopted became a more Atmospheric Gothic Metal, while the ToT material remained more Gothic Hard Rock. There is a certain commercial feel to a lot of the songs on this album and when this is coupled up with the vocals of male singer Raymond Rohonyi the resulting formula works very well. There is a good chance that fans of Evanescence and Lacuna Coil will lean to the new sound of the group more than the sounds that their former singer took on. It's a lot more accessible given its being rooted in a more conventional style of Hard Rock, there is a clean Male vocal which is almost mechanical at times and a lot of great keyboards running along with the guitars. Nell herself has a beautiful voice and her melodies add a dreamy quality to the tracks. Fans might feel that Liv Kristine would be a tough act to follow but I think after listening to this album that Sigland will have a large fan base as well. Title track of "Storm" mainly has Nell singing backup but as the album progresses she does more lead parts and really makes this album a pleasure to listen to. As a new listener to the bands material I found it very easy to follow and appreciate the sound and direction they were following and determine that many others who follow this Gothic branded sound will also find something they like about it.

Some of the favored tracks to me were of course the title since it forms the overall mood of the record but also songs like "Silence" where Nell rivals contemporaries like Amy Lee. "Fade" has single written all over it and it's sure to set some people as their favorite on the album with its strong piano accompaniment. "Begin & End" is among the heavier numbers and shows that the Leaves Eyes sound is not far from that of ToT in many instances. I also enjoyed the vibe of "Disintegration" and feel its one of the better songs on an already great album. Closer of "Debris" is a powerful way to end the album and should be played at a decent volume. The band has been around for eleven years now and the material on this recording should allow them to become the next "overnight" sensation if the right people are paying attention. There is no excuse as to why this should not be in heavy rotation on mediums that cater to music of this nature. Be sure to check it out.

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