Tristania - Darkest White
Napalm Records
Gothic Metal
10 songs (48'42'')
Release year: 2013
Tristania, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Jared

Over the years I haven’t spent too much time getting into bands with many female vocalists. Nightwish was the first real band that I spent a lot of time studying musically, but who hasn’t heard of this band or have come to the conclusion that they are quite obviously one of the most accepted bands with a female fronted voice. Tristania is a band I have had little introduction to and only began to think that all the attention of the band, like the others, would stress over the fact that they have this “hot female lead.” That’s all well and good, but I’m here to talk about music. With their album, not all, they liked to glorify her image on the front for the fans which didn’t really bother me like others may have perceived it, but their new album cover for Darkest White is a better approach depicting much melancholy, and more importantly their gothic image they are most recognized for in their music.

Tristania use to have a bit of doom metal influence in their past so I was a little anxious to see if they may have jumped back into adopting a sound like they had done with their album Widow’s Weeds back in 1998. It was an album that did catch my attention a couple years back but Darkest White is a bit more rock metal oriented than I was expecting. Having said that, this album still remains gothic sounding, combining some pretty incredible female lead singing, harsh vocals, and guitar licks that end up being some truly catchy jam metal riffs. Also the album likes to dig deep emotionally, but also shows that a little aggression in their song writing helped shaped their sound for their new album.

To get it out of the way, Mariangela Demurtas’ vocal performance was something I found myself really enjoying. I have to admit with many metal female vocalists, they like to show off to the world their trained operatic voices. Sometimes for me in metal, it can sound just plain senseless and honestly ruins the entire experience for me musically if done incorrectly. I do have a sincere respect for opera trained singers, but sometimes it can be disastrous if applied to metal in the wrong fashion. Mariangela focuses on delivering some very beautiful vocals for the album and many of the choruses are very memorable on her behalf. The first track, Numbers, doesn’t take any prisoners with its quick jump into the album. Such an opening took me by complete surprise, but soon after comes to a chorus her performance is one that is just plain striking and appealing.

A lot of the album has many catchy choruses and moments as such, but the second track got to be more aggressive and heavy. Kjetil Nordhus’ clean vocals are gloomy and haunting in a way, and Anders Hidle’s harsh vocals reminded me a bit of the type you might hear on a recent Samael record. Comparing Kjetil’s vocals to Moonspell’s might be a good comparison, especially that of their album Sin Pecado which I was a pretty big fan of. The important thing is that the vocals express their gothic image well, and the female vocals lift the song from a desolate manner to a more uplifting one. The same goes for the guitar work and keyboards. There are times where the album approaches as being a slower tempo and then rushing into a belligerent rush of fury. But generally the album takes on a slower approach with a very gothic atmosphere that sometimes blindsided me when songs took on more hostility. Guitar licks and drum patterns are catchy just as much as the vocals, but it’s obvious that the main focal point of the album is around the hooks of choruses especially that of the female voice lead.

Darkest White is a solid effort for the year and I ended up being pretty pleased. I am not one to be into catchy choruses as much as I would like to, but Tristania hit the mark just right for me in terms of combining a very aggressive atmosphere at times, but also not forgetting that there are very much a gothic band at heart.

Killing Songs :
Numbers, Darkest White, Diagnosis, Arteries
Jared quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Tristania that we have reviewed:
Tristania - Rubicon reviewed by Goat and quoted 81 / 100
Tristania - Widow's Weeds reviewed by Goat and quoted 92 / 100
Tristania - Ashes reviewed by Jack and quoted 85 / 100
Tristania - Beyond The Veil reviewed by Jack and quoted 90 / 100
Tristania - World Of Glass reviewed by Jack and quoted 80 / 100
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There are 2 replies to this review. Last one on Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:17 pm
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