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Review: Trail of Tears - A New Dimension of Might
Trail of Tears
A New Dimension of Might

Label: Napalm Records
Year released: 2002
Duration: 54:20
Tracks: 10
Genre: Gothic/Death

Rating: 4/5

Review online: April 27, 2003
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
A New Dimension of Might

Rated 3.89/5 (77.78%) (9 Votes)

Third and most aggressive album for these Norwegians. Their last CD "Profoundemonium" got a lot of good press, and the band has emerged from several acrimonious lineup changes (primarily the replacement of singer Helena Michealsen with Catherine Paulsen) stronger than ever.

Trail Of Tears are roughly in the goth field with bands like Tristiana or After Forever, but on this release they have gotten heavier than hell and placed more emphasis on the harsh vocals, verging into the death metal realm much more than the goth arena. They still have a gothic feel to them, using keyboards to create atmosphere and mixing up the harsh vox with Paulsen’s fine operatic soprano and really excellent clean male vocals from guest Kjetil Nordhus, but the level of aggression on this CD is really impressive. Trail Of Tears stand out from the crowd if only for the sheer heaviness of their attack and the total lack of the bathos normally drenching bands like this. Instead of sounding like a goth band with some death vocals, TOT sound like a death metal band with some goth flourishes, and the result is a surprisingly fresh and entertaining sound.

Now this isn’t all golden. Trail Of Tears have a tendency to go on a bit, and the individual songs sometimes wear out their welcome and go on too long. I would have to say a lack of focus in the songwriting is the most obvious flaw with this album. I would have liked to hear more of the female vocals, but maybe we will on the next album, as Catherine fits herself into the band more. The production is really first rate, as you would expect from Finnvox. With their diverse sound, Trail Of Tears would have sounded like a train wreck without a good production job. The cover version of Faith No More’s "Caffeine" is pretty pointless, but unless you have the promo version you won’t be subjected to it.

So TOT don’t hit a homer every time, but when they hit the mark, as on "A Fate Sealed In Red", "Obedience to the Absence of Logic", "The Call of Lust", or the ass-kicking "Splendid Coma Visions" this is a highly enjoyable CD. Deathheads who normally find goth-metal too wussy will find a lot here to like, and goth-fans who (like me) like music that kicks more ass will enjoy this melding of styles. Trail Of Tears are on to something, and I look forward to future releases from this fine band.

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