Theatre Of Tragedy - Storm
Gothic Rock
10 songs (44'05")
Release year: 2006
Theatre Of Tragedy, Candlelight
Reviewed by Alex
Major event

Some of you will argue if the Major Event tag applies with Theatre of Tragedy. I would contend that this Norwegian band has been highly influential, knowingly or unknowingly, for good or bad, being one of the first trying to add artistic gothic touches to the country’s flagship black metal music style. Their self-titled album and Velvet Darkness They Fear are considered the seminal classics of the gothic metal genre. Aegis, generally, followed suit, but Musique was, in a way, a breaking point. I remember how I could not wait to unload that out-of-whack experimental album on eBay fast enough. I really did not care what Assembly brought forth, and the unceremonious dumping of Liv Kristine Espenaes did not help matters (all the best to her in Leave’s Eyes).

The line-up revamp, new female vocalist in tow, Storm is upon us. Having skipped Assembly, would this album turn out to be a tornado to drag me back into the Theatre of Tragedy vortex? In short, the answer is twofold. While not a terrible album (again, see Musique for that), Storm does not elevate Theatre of Tragedy above the fray.

If straightforward pop-like song structures set in motion at intermediate pace, guitars doing just enough of their share, sweetened melodies carried by all kinds of keyboards and synthesizers are your thing – check out Storm right away. If you like well-done, turned just a touch heavy, pop-goth-rock, you should appreciate Storm very much. The songs can be dreamy (Ashes and Dreams), introspective and trippy (Senseless), or the guitars can be intentionally cranked up to drive the “heavy” point home (Begin & End) – this is all the same, quite inviting, for a clean-sheet listener anyway, catchy music. If it does sound a little formulaic by the time Exile and Disintegration come along, it probably is.

No question, there are higher points in this polished product. Lead hit single fits the bill perfectly, Silence has wonderful organic piano touches, Debris has that astral xylophone feel and Fade builds up beautifully, developing into a soaring symphonic composition. This is all good, and probably can secure a nomination for Norwegian Grammy, but Storm showcases Theatre of Tragedy content being a part of the field, instead of leading it.

And let’s not criticize Nell Sigland, the band’s new female vocalist. She does her part well. In fact, if it wasn’t for her, the marks would have been lower. Nell sounds a little sweeter than Liv Kristine, a little younger and girlish, but her voice is born to caress, making it a little less of a fit for the “heavier” parts (Begin & End). Leave that to Madder Mortem and Agnete Kirkevaag. It is definitely not Nell’s fault that Theatre of Tragedy is composing the songs Nell’s old band (The Crest) can do just as well.

Strangely absent are any of the Nell’s duets with Raymond Rohonyi. It is if both singers almost made a concerted effort not to show up in the studio at the same time (as if they had to, and one can’t overlap the vocal tracks anyway). All vocal lines are single, only one singer at a time contributing. Another observation, which becomes more obvious upon multiple listens, most of Raymond’s parts are of processed whispery variety. I am not expecting deathly grunts at this point anyway, but singing with a normal voice, removing all those effects would have brought a more natural feel.

If it seems like I have criticized Storm a lot, and unfairly, this is a well-crafted album, with top-notch production (courtesy of Rico Darum at Toproom Studios in Norway) largely responsible. I just personally wish this album was a little less generic, highlighting emotion more than it highlights the musicians’ skills in accordance with goth-rock modern convention.

Killing Songs :
Storm, Silence, Fade
Alex quoted 68 / 100
Ken quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Theatre Of Tragedy that we have reviewed:
Theatre Of Tragedy - Forever is the World reviewed by Alex and quoted 79 / 100
Theatre Of Tragedy - Assembly reviewed by Jack and quoted 60 / 100
Theatre Of Tragedy - Closure:Live reviewed by Marc and quoted no quote
Theatre Of Tragedy - Machine (EP) reviewed by Marc and quoted no quote
Theatre Of Tragedy - Inperspective (EP) reviewed by Marc and quoted no quote
To see all 7 reviews click here
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