Theater of Tragedy were one of the first bands to hit the scene years ago with that now all too familiar 'gothic metal' tag, combining heavy riffs with keyboards, and dueling melodic female vocals with male growls. After a few very strong early albums, the Norwegian act started to dabble in electro-pop/industrial sounds, got rid of their lead singer (Liv Kristine, who went off to form Leaves' Eyes), and found a new vocalist in Nell Sigland. In recent years, the band has moved away from the electro-pop/industrial style and back to more of what brought them to the table to begin with. Forever is the World once again signals the arrival of solid gothic-metal, and while it might not be a classic like Aegis (considered by many to be the band's best), many of the familiar elements are back.
Sigland's lush, gorgeous vocals float about the mix on the vibrant opener "Hide and Seek", but it's the deep growls of Raymond Istvān Rohonyi that steals the show, matching the thunderous riffs step by step and showing how powerful this band can be with all their cylinders firing. After that great opening number, the next few tracks, though nice melodic gothic fare, lack the punch of the opening cut, and it's not until the grand "Hollow" that Rohonyi once again appears alongside Sigland to form that 'beauty & the beast' alliance. Other strong tracks here include the mysterious and somewhat proggy "Astray", featuring stellar vocals from both singers and some fat riffs and huge keyboard sounds, and the upbeat symphonic rocker "Deadland", complete with a great vocal display from Sigland.
Overall, Forever is the World is a decent gothic metal release, but the problem is there's not enough 'oomph' on some of these songs, and too many of them never seem to get out of second gear. Too much gothic, not enough metal. Some more upbeat tempos, more growls, and perhaps some guitar or keyboard solos might have spiced things up a bit, but overall it's a solid album for Theater of Tragedy. Thing is, when you have acts like Epica, Nightwish, Within Temptation, Lacuna Coil, and others, enjoying plenty of success out there, competition is tough and you would have thought Theater of Tragedy would have brought a little extra to the game.
- Hide and Seek
- A Nine Days Wonder
- Forever is the World