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Review: Tristania - Ashes

Label: SPV
Year released: 2005
Duration: 42:38
Tracks: 8
Genre: Gothic Metal


Review online: March 4, 2005
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3/5 (60%) (11 Votes)

Well, never had a Tristania album before, though I have heard some tracks from "World Of Glass", which I thought were pretty good. This is the fourth album for the Norwegian band that gets credit for helping to invent Gothic Metal as it is usually meant today. I neither hate Gothic, nor do I line up to fellate each new release as it comes out, I just want to hear good music, and I can take an album on its own terms.

All that said, this is an album that starts promisingly, and then slides downward into dullsville halfway through. Things kick off promisingly enough with the surprisingly heavy and aggressive "Libre" which opens with crushing riffs and a growling attack on the vocals. "Equilibrium" kept my hopes up for this CD, as while it is a mellower tune, it still has good melodies and the fine vocals of Vibeke Stene. "The Wretched" starts well with big riffs and screaming, Death-style vocals, but then it kind of staggers off and becomes repetitive and boring. "Cure" is quieter, but also has good melodies, so it's not tiresome.

The rest of the album could be described with two words: "Mellow" and "Dull". Abandoning the vigorous attack of the earlier songs, Tristania decided to pack the second half of "Ashes" with four slow, gloomy, shapeless songs in a row. Okay, the last track, "Bird" perks things up a bit, but it goes on way too long. None of these tunes seem to have a beginning or an end, just endless middle.

So despite a strong start and some good bits, "Ashes" succeeds mostly in taking up space. Fans of the band, or rabid fans of the genre may like this better than I, but I think overall this is just an uninspired album from a band who could certainly do better.

More about Tristania...
Review: Ashes (reviewed by 4th Horseman)
Review: Darkest White (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Rubicon (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: World of Glass (reviewed by Steel Warrior)
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