TRISTANIA
Gothic Metal • Norway

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Tristania is a gothic metal band from Stavanger, Norway, formed in the end of 1996 by Morten Veland (male vocals/guitars), Einar Moen (keyboards), and Kenneth Olsson (drums). Soon thereafter, the band's original lineup was fleshed out further with the addition of guitarist Anders Hidle, bassist Rune Østerhus (who was recently replaced by Ole Vistnes), and vocalist Vibeke Stene (who has been replaced by Mariangela Demurtas).

The band's music is usually classified as gothic metal, due to its strong ties with the genre's history in addition to the band's use of styles and traits stereotypical of the genre. However, they pride themselves on their musical diversity, as evidenced by the evolution of their music over the course of their five studio albums.

Tristania's earlier albums Widow's Weeds and Beyond the Veil put a lot of focus around classical like female vocals, haunting choruses and classical instruments such as pipe organ, flutes
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(NPR 27182) Widow's Weeds(NPR 27182) Widow's Weeds
Napalm Records 2004
Audio CD$9.99 (used)
Beyond the VeilBeyond the Veil
Napalm 2000
Audio CD$5.46
$3.84 (used)
RubiconRubicon
Limited Edition
Napalm Records 2010
Audio CD$6.97
$5.00 (used)
Darkest WhiteDarkest White
Napalm Records 2013
Audio CD$5.98
$13.76 (used)
Midwinter TearsMidwinter Tears
Import
Unknown 2005
Audio CD$4.50
$3.50 (used)
World of GlassWorld of Glass
Napalm 2001
Audio CD$7.27
$2.04 (used)
IlluminationIllumination
Spv Import 2007
Audio CD$4.99
$8.97 (used)
Ashes (special Edition)Ashes (special Edition)
Special Edition
Spv Import 2005
Audio CD$29.00
$15.99 (used)
TristaniaTristania
Import
Napalm 1997
Audio CD$77.19
$17.45 (used)
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TRISTANIA Discography

TRISTANIA albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.44 | 8 ratings
Widow's Weeds
Gothic Metal 1998
.. Album Cover 4.35 | 8 ratings
Beyond the Veil
Gothic Metal 1999
.. Album Cover 3.49 | 8 ratings
World of Glass
Gothic Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 3.07 | 3 ratings
Ashes
Gothic Metal 2004
.. Album Cover 3.48 | 2 ratings
Illumination
Gothic Metal 2007
.. Album Cover 2.59 | 3 ratings
Rubicon
Gothic Metal 2010
.. Album Cover 3.52 | 3 ratings
Darkest White
Gothic Metal 2013

TRISTANIA EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Tristania
Gothic Metal 1997
.. Album Cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Midwintertears / Angina
Gothic Metal 2001

TRISTANIA live albums

TRISTANIA demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

TRISTANIA re-issues & compilations

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Widow's Tour / Angina
Gothic Metal 1999
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Midwinter Tears
Gothic Metal 2005

TRISTANIA singles (2)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Angina
Gothic Metal 1999
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sanguine Sky
Gothic Metal 2007

TRISTANIA movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Widow's Tour
Gothic Metal 1999

TRISTANIA Reviews

TRISTANIA Beyond the Veil

Album · 1999 · Gothic Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
Tristania are yet another "Beauty and the Beast" band in the gothic metal genre, though for my money I think Beyond the Veil is a pretty decent example of its form. Building on the solid but otherwise unremarkable foundation of their debut album, the band clearly listened to a whole bunch of symphonic black metal in the intervening time, because you have mild influences of that sweeping, melodramatic style coming into play here. When you combine that with a better production job, an increased confidence in the studio, and somewhat more polished compositions, you end up with quite an enticing package, and certainly an album worth going for if you dig this particular niche.

TRISTANIA Widow's Weeds

Album · 1998 · Gothic Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
A decent gothic metal album here with doomy overtones, enjoyable vocals from Vibeke, and some orchestral flourishes to add a touch of class to proceedings. The album shows a slightly more varied sound than your average Beauty and the Beast-styled Theatre of Tragedy imitator, with Angellore sounding more like an eccentric Fields of the Nephilim or Sisters of Mercy off-cut with guest vocalist Østen Bergøy taking the lead on some Andrew Eldritch-ish clean male vocals (Vibeke switching to backing vocals for one song). (Would that make this "Beauty and the Beauty and the Beast" metal?) Not an album to shake the gothic world to its foundations, but a fun time regardless.

TRISTANIA Widow's Weeds

Album · 1998 · Gothic Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
H. Siedler
This is a very dark and beautiful album!

Vibeke is a great singer! Her voice, full of colors, mixing softness and power, is the main thing in here. The instrumental is very simple, and counts with violin solos (which are awesome) instead of guitar solos. I think the better thing about this album is the way it works as a whole. No overreact, no virtuosism, no excess. The lyrics are amazing! The bad side in this work is the lack of surprises. The way it starts is the way it ends.

Do you like sad and dark songs? Do you like simple (but beautiful) arrangements? So listen to this album!

TRISTANIA Beyond the Veil

Album · 1999 · Gothic Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Nuke
This album is a gem within the gothic genre. The title track is probably one of my all time favorite gothic metal songs. However, as a whole, this album doesn't quite live up to it's reputation. The problem with this album is that as it progresses, it slowly becomes less and less coherent. It never relents in it's innovation and complexity, but whereas all of it fits together during the first half of the album, by the end what we have is a parade of creative ideas weakly bound together. I wish I could prescribe the problem as they need to work harder on editing, to not include parts that don't work, but I don't feel that would save this album, because then the album itself would become a bizarre progression from progressive gothic metal to minimalist gothic metal, and would completely go against what the band is trying to portray. In the end, the only solution is "come up with more consistent ideas."

So, to give an idea of what's going on to the uninitiated: Tristania takes the standard (old) gothic formula, and replaces the death metal influence with a black metal influence, and then throws on a plethora of classical instruments and motifs. To elaborate, we have electronic keyboards emulating several other keyboard instruments (piano, synth, bells), a violin, a small chamber choir, the standard drums, guitars, and bass, topped with a tri-vocal assault between Vibeke singing soprano (quite beautifully too), Morten Veland's growls (which seem rooted in black metal shrieks, but sometimes venture into death metal territory), and clean baritone vocals from Osten Bergoy. All of these are not confined to their stereotypical roles either. Many symphonic metal bands will include classical instruments to play the typical stuff you would hear on that instrument, just to give the music a classical coloring, but Tristania utilizes all of the instruments to their fullest, playing unusual yet beautiful passages.

Tristania manage atmosphere fantastically, especially during the first half of the album. Later on, the decoherence of the album manages to kill the atmosphere a bit. However, even during those parts, this album feels quintessentially gothic, maybe even more so than the standard approach to gothic metal which doesn't incorporate influence from black metal. If more bands had followed in Tristania's footsteps, then perhaps we would have a new subgenre of gothic music, and gothic metal would definitely have more respect within the metal community. This is definitely *the* gothic metal album to recommend to serious fans of black/death metal.

Angina is the worst offender of decoherence in my opinion. Random growls cut into a soft moment, a mellow piano/choir cuts off the heavy riff, a random bass break precedes a violin solo, as if the two had anything to do with each other. It is stitched together by the guitar riff, which is substituted by harmonies that imply it occasionally. As I already mentioned, the title track is amazing, and Aphelion is consistent in all the ways that I described Angina as not being. In the end, this album is a beautiful masterpiece that descends into mild schizophrenia. This album will never make it on to my top tier with such masterpieces like Trail of Tears' Profoundemonium, but it comes damn close.

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