Theatre of Tragedy
Forever Is The World
21 September 2009
by Jon Kerr
Norway’s Theatre of Tragedy have made a sizeable contribution to the Scandanavian Goth scene. Their first few albums (Theatre of Tragedy, Velvet Darkness They Fear) have received more than a few nods of appreciation over the years. Even the electro-pop Assembly, released in 2002, was seen as a positive step. But do they still have something to offer?
Don’t pay too much attention to the industrial teasings of the opening bars of ‘Hide and Seek’ – the theme isn’t maintained. Which is a pity because on this track the twin vocals of Raymond István Rohonyi and Nell Sigland are best shown off. Theatre of Tragedy jettison the device almost entirely after this point, placing Sigland centre stage on following tracks. Indeed, ‘A Nine Days Wonder’ sounds almost like a different band – the track is better mixed, better thought through, and better executed than its predecessor. On this song, the band (some fifteen years into their career) get closest to that Lacuna Coil sound that defines popular Goth-Metal at the moment. Beginning to end, this track hits all the right gothic swoons and epic swoops.
The middle part of the record exposes some unexpected influences on guitarists Frank Claussen and Vegard K. Thorsen. The clean guitars and piano line on ‘Hollow’ show a confidence in these musicians – they don’t need to douse themselves in distortion and effects. Rohonyi’s vocals on ‘Astray’ provide an unexpected juxtaposition to Nell’s voice: a semi-spoken approach that could almost be a sleepy impersonation of Tricky. Although as the album progresses the general airiness begins to drag – thankfully, for the final two minutes of ‘Illusions’, Hein Frode Hansen’s drumming picks it back up to an enjoyable, head-nodding pace.
Placed precariously late on, lead single ‘Deadland’ could fit snugly onto Lacuna Coil’s Unleashed Memories. Perhaps it should’ve followed ‘A Nine Days Wonder’ at the top of the album, giving the overall sequence more credibility. Instead, it only leads into the somewhat missable, beefed-up piano ballad of a title track that closes proceedings.
It’s not on this album, but watch the video to ‘Storm’ by Theatre Of Tragedy
This is not an album to rock out to….but in the bedroom of those solitary goth kids, there is an audience for Forever Is The World. Sadly, Rohonyi has taken too much of a back seat and Sigland hasn’t got enough tricks in the bag to keep attentions grabbed to the end. An influential band within the genre they may be (see countrymates Mortal Love and Octavia Sperati) but there isn’t much going on on this release that Cristina Scabbia and friends aren’t delivering a whole lot better.
Sounds like: Octavia Sperati, Flowing Tears, Lacuna Coil…occasionally
Top tracks: A Nine Days Wonder, (the second half of) Illusions, Deadland
Theatre of Tragedy – Forever Is The World tracklisting
Hide and Seek
A Nine Days Wonder
Forever Is the World