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Ashes

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Album Review

Much to the delight of their fans, Norway's Tristania continued to prosper after the departure of guiding songwriter Morten Veland, simply retooling the group's lineup and shifting creative responsibilities to show no obvious ill effects with their next effort, 2001's World of Glass. Then, following a troublingly long break from action, the group returned even more confidently with 2005's Ashes — the first release for new label SPV. Quite simply a master class in goth metal 101, Ashes contains all of the requisite drama and mournful beauty of the genre, adds dueling, angular guitar riffs and sweeping synths, and then goes for broke thanks to Tristania's unique three-pronged vocal attack. This, for those who don't know, matches the sweet-singing Vibeke Stene with baritone Østen Bergoy and, for a truly unexpected, spine-tingling effect, the cookie-monster growls of Kjetil Ingebrethsen. Spun together, all of these elements result in often lengthy but always distinctive and immediate tunes like "Equilibrium," "The Wretched," and "Endogenisis," as well as a couple of nearly perfect goth metal creations (both commercially viable and thoroughly metallic) in "Libre" and "Shadowman." Slicing the album neatly in half, the evocative ballad "Cure" affords Stene a wonderful showcase on which to shine solo, and then segues nicely into one of the album's most brutal offerings, "Circus," completed by its eerie synthesizers and ghostly choral backdrops. In the end, if there's one major gripe to be had over Ashes, it's that it weighs in a little "light" at just seven songs and 43 minutes. But given the choice, most listeners would likely rather have focused restraint than diluted excess any day.

Customer Reviews

Extremely Dark Tristania Album

I wrote a review for this a few years ago, saying that it was okay...but I change my mind. After a few listens, Ashes is officially deemed absolutely amazing. It's definitely different from other Tristania albums, but it still has the amazing musicianship. The tone of this album is extremely dark and creepy, as well as sad, morose, and aggressive. It's very evil sounding and scary, as well as spine chilling, heartwrenching, tearjerking, and absolutely beautiful. The standout tracks of this album are The Wretched, which is so aggressive and creepy, that is I cannot stop listening to it at all. Circus is also another amazing track. It's one of the creepiest Tristania songs I've ever heard, with the whispers, the backwards talking, the growls, the lyrics....it made me shiver. Shadowman is also another amazing track. It's very sad and emotional....a real tearjerker. Then there's Endogenesis, which is dark, emotional, and epic. This Tristania album is definitely worth your time. It's really high up there with World of Glass, yet not quite reaching Beyond The Veil or Widow's Weeds. (Then again, barely any albums ever reach that level.) Buy it, listen to it, and your in for a creepy gothic trip.

miss the original Tristania!

Too bad Morten Veland let this band fall into the hands of a trend. Ever since Ashes the sound has gone to crap along with Sirenia! my all time favorite band until its demise of nine destinies and .... to shame!

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Regarded as one of the world's premiere goth metal bands, Norway's Tristania have earned their reputation through risk-taking creativity, unquestionable talent, and perhaps more than anything else, an impressive consistency from release to release. First coming together in 1996, Tristania took the uncommon step of showcasing three separate vocalists of wildly divergent styles to represent their lyrics, these being operatic soprano Vibeke Stene, clean-singing counter-tenor Østen Bergøy, and harsh,...
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Ashes, Tristania
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