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Review: "Theatre of Tragedy" the Impressive Debut Album by Norwegian Metal Band Theatre of Tragedy Released in 1995

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

Theatre of Tragedy: Album Cover Showing a Rose That is Withering Away

The album cover shows flowers that are starting to wither away in the soil just like how a type of play called a tragedy usually turns out. The band's music is very exciting though.

The album cover shows flowers that are starting to wither away in the soil just like how a type of play called a tragedy usually turns out. The band's music is very exciting though.

A Little Bit About the Band Theatre of Tragedy

Theatre of Tragedy was a metal band from Stavanger, Norway that was formed back in 1993 that started out as a doom and death metal band before becoming more of a Gothic rock band. I admit I had not listened to any of their albums after Aegis (1998) as of the first composition of this review but they were indeed a very talented group of musicians. And like several other bands in the music business, they had a female vocalist. Her name is Liv Kristine Espanaes. Raymond I. Rohonyi did the growling parts and all the male vocals. Pal Bjastad and Tommy Lindal do the guitar work on this album. Doing the bass guitar on this album is Eirik T. Saltro and Hein Frode Hansen does the drums. Lorentz Aspen handles all of the piano and synth parts of the album known by the same name of Theatre of Tragedy.

Theatre of Tragedy: Album Review Part One

Lyrically, the band uses the old English style lyrics. This is demonstrated especially in the song called "A Cheerful Dirge" as it is a slow, heavy song with some growls and you can also hear the keyboard in some instances. To These Words I Beheld No Tongue starts with beautiful guitar and then we hear the chanting voice of Liv Kristine kick in to provide a wonderful contrast. Theatre of Tragedy was released on July 4, 1995. I remember this album because I would listen to it very frequently in 1998 and 1999 when I was also getting into countless other bands. "Hollow-Hearted, Heart-Departed" is another slow song that has synth in it and the chanting vocals start and then the growls come in. Even though the album has death metal growls in it, it is not a traditional death metal album because it has Gothic rock elements in it as well.

"Sweet Art Thou"

Theatre of Tragedy: Album Review Part Two

As the second half of the album begins, the song called "A Distance There Is" has the sound effects of rainfall along with the sounds of thunder. The piano starts to play as Liv Kristine sings that she is trapped and she must travel a distance to get to her destination. It is a rather long song being almost nine minutes long. But the voice of Liv Kristine should relax and heal any stress you may be feeling. "Sweet Art Thou" (Sweet Are You) starts with some beautiful piano playing as the growls kick in once again. I actually hear some neoclassical style guitar in this song although it is slow and sounds more like what you would hear in a death metal album. Then we have some slow guitar picking that bands such as Tristania used in their debut album as well. Mire starts with slow piano tapping before switching to some melodic guitar that Sweden’s Dark Tranquillity definitely uses in their albums. The Northern European nations are a hotbed of musical talent as I’m sure most of you are aware of. "Dying - I Only Feel Apathy" is my favorite song on the album along with A Hamlet for a Slothful Vassal. Though even the last song called "Monotone" which is an instrumental is not bad but it cannot compare to the countless other instrumentals that are better than it. This debut album by Theatre of Tragedy was a very good way for the band to start their career and they would finish out the decade of the 1990’s in excellent fashion with Aegis which had a different style of play and was faster overall with even more melodic vocals. But this album is good and will appeal to any fans of doom and death metal.

© 2016 Ara Vahanian

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