Musicians are a peculiar bunch. Some artists know what direction they want to peruse. They might start their careers with an explosive and sometimes even a genre defining sound. Usually they will keep that sound their whole career, but will always be “chasing the dragon” like a heroin junkie. Trying to relive the sound or high of the first release. Now some artists will take a few albums to mature. Band are just like any team working affair where each individual member must learn how to work within a group and how to balance their personal and professional lives. Some artists might delve into their careers headfirst throwing style and genre into the wind. Groups are hard to work with and a band is no exception. Musical groups sometimes find it takes quite a few full studio releases before they really settle into their spots and become on cohesive unit.
Then there are artists like Norway’s Theatre of Tragedy. An groups known throughout the metal world for the Gothic/Doom metal passages and love for the old English. For those who listen to this style of music they are quite popular, which is why 2000’s Musique and now Assembly have been quite a shock to the metal community.
In their first Self Titled album they were still green, but a very good almost overnight success. In their ’96 release, Velvet Darkness they Fear, the band explored the boundaries that the dualistic voices of Kristine and Raymond could produce while perfecting the structure of their songs craftsmanship. By their ’98 release Aegis ToT were defining the style to which they took almost to the level of perfection.
However on their fourth cd, Musique, ToT decided to change their style a bit and turned electronic. Musique might not have been received as well by long time fans of ToT, however it was clear they were up to something. The fourth cd showed the band learning the ropes of a totally new style. Or was it just a natural progression of their style into regional influences long dominated by the dualistic sounds of the Male/Female and Opera/Classical meets Metal guitars and hard electro beats? Music that has defined and help to shape the EBM scene for over 10 years. On their fifth full studio release ToT have seemed to embrace the machine and show to the world that their style is something that transcends genre definition. While this album is probably ToT’s more pop oriented yet, this is a very good, well produced album. Kristine’s vocals are at the forefront of the music which displays a bit more of a bite than she has produced in pervious releases. She has almost all but given up her operatic vocals and Goth overtones for a more pop sensible style, Raymond Rohonniy has given up the low growling totally. The music is sold and very guitar oriented with just enough electronic elements in the synth lines and drums to add to the pieces. There is no one instrument or track that stands out as being the main focus of the music, but the groups works as a whole to create an complete cd.
ToT have accomplished in 5 albums what some bands don’t accomplish in their whole career. That is by changing the style of music they perform,
but not necessarily change the roles of the band, it’s almost what could be considered a side project where the whole band decided to participate.
Assembly proves that Theatre of Tragedy are not a group who limit their sound by their genre but define their sound by the contributions of it members. ToT have derived their unique sound by their make up of players.
Artist Link: http://www.theatreoftragedy.com