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Theatre Of Tragedy - Aégis review


386 users:
Band: Theatre Of Tragedy
Album: Aégis
Release date: 1998

01. Cassandra
02. Lorelei
03. Angelique
04. Ade
05. Siren
06. Samantha [bonus]
07. Venus
08. Poppæa
09. Bacchante
10. Virago [Japanese bonus]

This is one of the most beautiful albums I've ever heard. One of the pioneers in the "Beauty and the Beast" Gothic Metal movement, Norway's Theatre Of Tragedy reached their apex with their third album, Aegis. After two albums of melodramatic, theatrical Gothic Metal which hinted at so much potential, they refined their sound, streamlined their approach, and wrote the best songs of their career.

Gone are the monstrous growls of Raymond I. Rohonyi, instead opting for a cleaner delivery that is subtle in its approach but much more effective. Yet, it is his female counterpart, Liv Kristine Espenaes, who really shines here. This woman possesses one of the most beautifully angelic voices I've yet to hear in music, and her performance here is stunningly breathtaking. Her voice is predominant throughout, Raymond's used as more of an effect to compliment Liv, save for a couple of songs. The lyrics are written in a type of Old Romantic poetry, and although this makes it a bit difficult to sing along, it also adds to the overall vibe of the album. Aegis is based on the concept of the various incarnations of females. Beautiful and mysterious, yet vicious and ruthless all the same, man will never understand woman completely. She can take man to the highest of Heavens, and with one look, one word, she can send him down to the darkest pits of Hell. Yet, no matter, man will always desire woman. He is a slave.

Musically, this is honestly the most beautiful music I've ever heard created with basic Rock instruments [guitars, bass, drums etc.]. A much lighter work than previous recordings, Aegis is an album that would likely appeal more to Gothic and Darkwave audiences than Metal fans. The only thing keeping this album linked to Metal is the thundering drums and the power of the guitars in certain sections. Songs like 'Angelique', 'Siren' and 'Venus' are pure ethereal beauty, while 'Lorelei' and 'Poppaea' are more uptempo, Goth rock numbers still maintaining the effervescent aura of the rest of the album.

In terms of what the band were attempting, this is an outright masterpiece. Perfect all the way down to the beautiful layout and the crystal clear yet powerful production. Unfortunately, the band would choose to try its hand at electronic club music on its next album, harboring none of the exquisite beauty of its past recordings. Thankfully, they left us with this gem before losing sight of themselves...

Written by Allen | 03.09.2003


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Guest review by
The only band that has satiated the gothic metal genre is Theatre Of Tragedy. They had already proven that they are the best gothic metal band in the last two albums, but with this album they have proven that they are just quintessential! No other gothic metal album can match up with Aégis. It's truly a masterpiece. It's not just an album, it's a doleful journey of love and despair. It makes you get lost in a beautiful, imaginary world of sorrows.

published 04.10.2018 | Comments (0)


Comments: 14   Visited by: 152 users
16.08.2006 - 03:28
The Alchemist
Excellent album, the second best one after "Theatre of tragedy" imo.
This album is great, the music is still so beautiful with the beautiful Liv Kristine's voice and like allen57 said in the review, Raymond's growls are gone and the music is much more elaborated, preservng the beauty and poetic lyrics.

The best songs imo are: "Venus", "Poppaea", "Casandra", "Angelique" and "Lorelei"

I'm not afraid to die, I'm afraid to be alive without being aware of it
Sensorium - Epica
17.08.2006 - 10:58
Jason W.
I don't understand why the review only gives it a 9, considering the high praise it receives. I think this CD qualifies as a '10' because it IS unique, it creates a sound that no other band has come close to. "Siren" is the most romantic and mesmerizing metal track I've ever heard. "Cassandra" is a classic.
"After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." - Aldous Huxley
13.02.2007 - 20:50
excellent album, and perfect voices!!!
12.10.2007 - 15:29
Account deleted
cassandra and poppaea is the best!
17.10.2007 - 15:34
Account deleted
liv has teh best voice! she is a siren!
28.12.2007 - 15:15
Mr. Doctor
One of the best album in Gothic music... IT KICK ASS.
Cassandra - Lorelei - Venus - Poppæa are the best songs in this album...
And I have to agree here... this album is unique.
Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29
Like you could kiss my ass
Written by Milena on 20.06.2012 at 10:49
Rod, let me love you.
25.04.2008 - 08:41
Account deleted
Venus- a song of pure beauty with a macabre twist. Liv Kristine's voice is so angelic.
14.05.2009 - 06:17
I always had some difficulties in expressing TOT music in words, specialy this album. Great review and comments.
31.08.2010 - 01:24
Definitely an amazing album, and I didn't mind the lyrics being in Olde English. Personally I think that this was their last good album; 'Musique' was just disappointing.
31.08.2010 - 06:16
Account deleted
Great album, I love the atmosphere of the album, one of the best gothic albums ever.
19.01.2011 - 11:56
Sleeping Dragon
They create amazing atmosphere, I must admit.

Also, the lyrics are technically in Early Modern English (think Shakespeare's romantic tragedies).
21.02.2011 - 19:49
I'm now listening for the first time this album ( and i am also high_:) ) and I'm enyoing it...:D
29.04.2011 - 00:09
Golden Wing
About 5 years ago I would call this album total crap.. but at present I love it as much as ToT's early works... looks like I just needed some time to get into such album..
The best songs are: Siren, Cassandra, Venus and Virago...
30.06.2013 - 14:49
Annable Courts
Allen, amazing review. It's exactly, almost word for word, what I think of this album. I like the "this is the best music I've heard out of basic rock (guitar, drums, voice etc..)". Totally agreed.
It's so very, very, very rare to find a gothic piece that doesn't sound like trite, uninspired rehashed pseudo-Gothic bullcrap. It's always the same freaking formula, and aaaaalways lacks any sort of depth.
This completely avoids all that. It's not just a facade, it's the real thing. Beautiful chord progressions, magnificent and memorable chorus/verse hooks, drums and production overall sound crisp as fudge. Nice use of keyboards, guitar, bass.
Kristine sounds beautiful, it sounds like the notion of Love becomes linked with infinity and as a listener we are transported to a different dimension, one that elevates the emotional intensity to the greater heights.

And of course, an ode to women. What magnificent creatures they are, and yet so complicated and fkn annoying too often...what a strange relationship between us men and those frustratingly enticing beings.
Each title, a woman's name. How beautiful, really !
I can get some of the lyrics, but then again the rest is long as the global meaning is caught, I mean...

No matter what, til the day I die, one of the most special albums ever. Definitely a Top 10, all music, in my world.
Top 4 Death Metal bands ever: Cannibal, Morbid, Decapitated, Suffo.

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