Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.
Liv Kristine Espanaes the former front woman of Theatre of Tragedy
The album Velvet Darkness They Fear is another outstanding album from this Norwegian band
Norwegian metal band Theatre of Tragedy went into the year 1996 being already on a high standing with their self-titled debut album. Their second studio album called Velvet Darkness They Fear continues in the style of their first album but it may be even heavier and slower than that one.
"Bring Forth Ye Shadow"
Velvet Darkness They Fear: How Does It Begin?
The first song which is the title track has some piano in it and I can sense that the song has this sort of ominous, suspenseful feeling to it. Liv Kristine’s vocals start and carry on into the next song called “Fair and Guiling Copesmate Death.” There is a use of an instrument called the electric or “E” bow which helps create a nice atmospheric part in the song. I see a bit of an Ancient Ceremony influence in this song.
As usual because the lyrics in this time period in the band’s history are written in the old English style, interpreting the meanings and song concepts is challenging but let’s see how this doom and death metal album is listening to it at night.
Analysis of the Songs Bring Forth Ye Shadow and Seraphic Deviltry
This writer is kind of biased as well when choosing which albums to review. Sometimes I get the idea to review a certain album based on a sort of “a-ha” moment where a light bulb turns on in the depths of my mind. That’s what happened as I got the thought to review another Theatre of Tragedy album. Liv Kristine’s pleasant vocals are a great fit especially in the song “Bring Forth Ye Shadow.” She sings or chants “dim the lights, I cannot see. Bring forth Ye Shadow.” The next song called “Seraphic Deviltry” has a dual vocal part by Liv Kristine and Raymond Rohonyi which can be described as either a good dual vocal attack or better yet, a great dual vocal part in an otherwise brilliant doom death metal album.
The Beauty of the Song And When He Falleth
The next song called “And When He Falleth” begins with a beautiful piano part in it and this is also another instrument that the band Ancient Ceremony does use in their music as well. The song develops into a heavy and catchy riff filled part with Raymond’s death metal vocals accompanying the song. The song makes references to plays such as The Divine Comedy. The lyrics are once again in the old English style. I also notice a sort of Cradle of Filth influence in this song with the spoken narration.
Why was Theatre of Tragedy such a good band?
However, Theatre of Tragedy were a band that played with less speed and more melody and that’s more important for a band that wants to sustain a large following of loyal fans. I guess this Norwegian band understood that it wasn’t just enough to be able to play very fast. You also have to play with melody, feeling, and passion. That’s why Theatre of Tragedy are one of my favorite Norwegian bands along with Arcturus.
Favorite Theatre of Tragedy album among these three
"When He Falleth"
"Black as the Devil Painteth"
Further analysis to support the greatness of this band compared to American death metal bands
Let’s see some American band play this style of death metal and do this well. I bet they couldn’t do it today in 2017 let alone in 1996. American death metal declined long ago after the unfortunate passing of Chuck Schuldiner. Norway is now better in the death metal category than many other nations and they should be very proud of themselves! These statements are made to emphasize that other countries are catching up to the United States musically and even surpassing the United States especially in the genre of standard death metal. Even though Theatre of Tragedy disbanded, they are still one of the finest bands to have ever been in the heavy metal scene. There is little to complain about in terms of Theatre of Tragedy’s second album and it may be even better than their first one.
Grade: 95 out of 100 points for a solid A!
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2017 Ara Vahanian