Rating:
8.5
Trail Of Tears - A New Dimension Of Might
16 September 2002


01. Ecstatic
02. A Fate Sealed In Red
03. Crashing Down
04. Obedience In The Absence Of Logic
05. Liquid View
06. Denial And Pride
07. The Call Of Lust
08. Splendid Coma Visions
09. Bloodred Trance
10. Caffeine [Faith No More cover] [limited edition bonus]


Whenever a quality album slips through general attention unnoticed, quite a bunch of reasons can be involved. In case of Trail Of Tears' 'A New Dimension Of Might', the reason might be the simplest of all. Trail Of Tears must be one of, if not the most underappreciated bands in the metal world. Their esoteric hybrid-style of Gothic and Black Metal doesn't seem to have its target audience in either camp, although 'A New Dimension Of Might' takes this symbiosis to near perfection and would deserve to be equally appreciated by fans of each genre.
Combining key elements of both styles, Ronny Thorsen and his band create an unequalled atmosphere. The songs being just structured simply enough to emphasize this atmosphere, but inherently powerful. Fast, aggressive guitar riffs and drums alternate with slow, emotional passages. Dark keyboards accompany the listener through this epic and the powerful, yet angel-like voice of Cathrine Paulsen cuts through growls and low-pitched clean vocals like razors.

Aside from the musical power of this ensemble - as much of Trail Of Tear's work does - 'A New Dimension Of Might' lives from its lyrical work. Ronny Thorsen is a lyricist of the old days, able to fit his deep lyrics perfectly into these songs without restraint to phrasing or song structure. His lyrics take the listener out on a journey through fear, hate, regret, revenge and death, visiting the darkest and most distant corners of the human mind. Added to this the four different voices and choir, the listener ends up with an album as well-arranged and atmospheric as few in these styles are. I say four voices because aside from Ronny Thorsen and Kjetil Nordhus, (the latter acting as a guest singer, providing clean male vocals) Cathrine Paulsen has two styles in her repertoire. This album doesn't solely rely on high-pitched female vocals but also on her casual voice, further adding diversity to a few songs.

Unfortunately, the album wasn't as well produced as it could have been. This is most apparent in the levels. Certain songs have a noticeable step in loudness when one passage leads into another. Also I don't appreciate productions where vocals are mixed so low that they nearly disappear in the music when not listening with headphones. For this, and for the cover of Faith No More's 'Caffeine', which in my opinion, doesn't fit into the album at all, I'll take a few points away.
Songs that are most worth a listen: 'A Fate Sealed In Red', 'Liquid View', 'Obedience In The Absence Of Logic' and 'Bloodred Trance'.

The concept of male growls and female singing isn't new, and Trail Of Tears certainly didn't reinvent the wheel here. But this band deserves more attention and this album is the perfect start. Especially if you are as bored by today's Gothic Metal as I am.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 7


Band profile: Trail Of Tears
Album: A New Dimension Of Might


 


written by corrupt | 20.11.2008


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



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Jason W. - 27.11.2008 at 02:00  
Always a pleasure to find someone else who appreciates this album. You're right, Trail Of Tears is too often a second thought with most metal fans, even gothic metal fans, but that's because they tread the boundaries of genres too much - something most people aren't interested in. I've always wondered why the metal community gave such little attention to the album, as this was something I'd imported to the US as soon as the release date had passed!

I'm surprised about your comments about the production / mix values of the album, as I've never once complained about it in the hundreds of listens I've given the disc. And "Caffeine" is a bonus track - so I've never really cared much about having an opinion on it, as well as it being a cover... but those are small disagreements I guess

Cathrine's vocals and Ronny's lyrics are what makes this album like nothing else out there (of course it's a thrill to know they are recording together now again). Ronny puts it all out there and doesn't mellow it out whatsover - something he shows on the stage as well. And I have to say, my favorite song with Cathrine in it is "Ecstatic" - her singing a few minutes into the song is just bewitching! I'd also recommend "Crashing Down" as well.

Cheers on a review of an oft-ignored album that is a near 10 in my book - no one's come close to the sound on this album again!
corrupt - 27.11.2008 at 02:19  
Written by Jason W. on 27.11.2008 at 02:00

I'm surprised about your comments about the production / mix values of the album, as I've never once complained about it in the hundreds of listens I've given the disc. And "Caffeine" is a bonus track - so I've never really cared much about having an opinion on it, as well as it being a cover... but those are small disagreements I guess

Cathrine's vocals and Ronny's lyrics are what makes this album like nothing else out there (of course it's a thrill to know they are recording together now again). Ronny puts it all out there and doesn't mellow it out whatsover - something he shows on the stage as well. And I have to say, my favorite song with Cathrine in it is "Ecstatic" - her singing a few minutes into the song is just bewitching! I'd also recommend "Crashing Down" as well.

Cheers on a review of an oft-ignored album that is a near 10 in my book - no one's come close to the sound on this album again!

I thought about the rating for several weeks before turning in this review. Listening to it over and over again. But I think compared to other work in both genres it really is a fair one. I can't really point my finger on anything that I haven't already mentioned but all praise aside there's still something missing for me to rate it beyond 9. And I'd also never give an album a straight 10 (or anything as close to that as 9.8) as I don't believe there is a thing as the best album. It would degrade so much other work that soon I'd be throwing 10's around to compensate that
And in my defense regarding caffeine, it was their choice to put it on the record and it does affect my listening experience. One of the many subjective aspects of reviewing I guess

Regarding the vocals, I had a paragraph there that would look into further detail about them on this album and also emphasize the importance of Cathrines casual voice next to her clean vocals. But it was deleted without commenting and I didn't want to start discussions about it.

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