Trail Of Tears - Bloodstained Endurance
Napalm Records
Symphonic Gothic Metal
11 songs (42:49)
Release year: 2009
Trail Of Tears, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Thomas
Album of the month

Gothic metal and yours truly rarely clicks, and to be honest it’s the genre I have the least knowledge about, as I’ve taken little or no interest at all in the bands I’ve heard in my nine years of being into metal. The so-called “Beauty and the Beast”-vocal work have never thrilled me in the same way at it has obviously tickled others, and the melodies and dull mid-tempo songs have never struck me as anything but boring at best. Trail of Tears‘ dumped down in my mail a couple of months ago, and I have admittedly held it on safe distance since I learned the genre, but as time went on and my conscience told me to review it before Napalm Records got pissed, I decided to give this one a fair try. After the first couple of spins one can say that I was mildly impressed, cursing myself for being the pre-judgmental dick I am for not giving this the credit it deserves long ago. After being pretty much abandoned on all fronts since their last effort Existentia, Ronny Thorsen had to go re-recruiting for their next album, which turned out to be Bloodstained Endurance. The big question-mark was who would provide soprano/clean vocals to accompany his harsh growls, after long-time servant Kjetil Nordhus also left during the big walk-out back in 06. Cathrine Paulsen, who was in the band on one earlier album, was re-hired which was more or less a genius move by Thorsen.

Paulsen brings a lot of energy and passion to Bloodstained Endurance and the music, the melodic approach and the shifting moods of the songs fits her voice perfectly. She’s not trying to be someone she’s not and for the most part avoids the operatic traps one would think should be pretty easy to fall into when fronting a symphonic gothic metal band. Thorsens blood-thirsty croaks are dominating the verses, while Paulsen’s remarkably clean and beautiful voice defines every song with stunning chorus performances that alone makes this much more interesting. Songs like the astonishingly thrilling Farewell to Sanity are perfectly structured for her to shine through with her talent, and the symphonic arrangements create a powerful presence that makes this sound impressively deliberate. Haunting choir layers, rolling and rumbling guitar-riffs and sharp lead-work just adds to the excitement, and even though the album may have a simple sound and direction, there’s a good number of stand-out tracks here that vary from good to great to incredible in terms of quality. In other words, there’s practically nothing that’ll urge you to press the skip-button while listening to this.

In addition to the stunning arrangements that is audible from the very first moment of The Feverish Alliance, chilling choirs that is especially distinct on the personal highlight Take Aim. Reclaim. Prevail will send buckets of ice down your spine along-side the ghastly rasps of Thoresen and the beautifully, melodic and catchy vocal lines of everyone’s favourite soprano. Harsher songs like the cleverly titled Once Bitten by the Serpent (Twice Bitten by the Truth), is barely touched by a modern, symphonic hint of black metal which makes room for exciting contrasts compared to the slightly softer nature of the other cuts that is drenched in despair and sadness. An intelligent mix of power, gothic, symphonic and black metal sparks interest and attention, and to be honest, it is pretty hard to force oneself free from the impression it makes after you let it grow on you. Simple yet addictive, dark, depressive, creepy and harsh yet strangely beautiful and compelling, established by creative and intelligent song-writing is the bottom line here. Great album, from a band that is among my favourite nowadays, despite playing gothic metal. Great work, highly recommended.

Killing Songs :
Thomas quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Trail Of Tears that we have reviewed:
Trail Of Tears - A New Dimension Of Might reviewed by Jack and quoted 95 / 100
Trail Of Tears - Profundemonium reviewed by Marc and quoted 91 / 100
2 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 5 replies to this review. Last one on Mon Nov 30, 2009 7:16 pm
View and Post comments