CD Reviews > Tristania

Tristania - Rubicon


Tristania take the listener on a musical journey that really is beyond the point of no return with their sixth album, Rubicon (Napalm Records) stretching their boundaries with well-thought out melodies coupled with raw power, still laced with their Gothic themes that audiences have come to love.

Check out their video for the new song “Year Of The Rat”!

Hailing from Norway, Tristania has again tweaked their line-up and have a solid chemistry that made past albums like Beyond the Veil (still one of The Crowgrrl’s favorite albums) great. This line up consists of: vocalists Mariangela Demurtas and Kjetil Nordhus, guitarist/growling vocalist Anders Hidle, synth/programmer Einar Moen, guitarist Gyri Losnegaard, bassist Ole Vistnes, and drummer Tarald Lie. The album also features a guest appearance by violinist Pete Johansen.

Year of the Rat immediately captures the listener with soaring keyboards and gorgeous melodies, while it’s lyrically about hiding one’s identity or being on the run (and has nothing to do with Chinese astrology). “Protection” is a tranquil lullaby. While both of these were solely featuring female vox, the Yin-Yang blend of male and female vocals was evident on the rest of the album. “Vultures” – about transparent creatures filled with greed – invoked the power of the trademark Tristania sound. Excellent track!

“The Passing “ and “Exile” are a two-pronged fork, both about an expatriot crossing borders and leaving an old life behind, but finding loneliness in its wake. Both of these again rely heavily on the female vox. By contrast, “Sirens” is a refreshing yet chilling entry – with dangerous male vocals searching for something more than just the daily grind.

“Patriot Games” is the most powerful track on the album, capturing the pure essence of a Viking in the throes of battle. The dark “Amnesia” is musically superb, with an absolutely haunting violin; lyrically it explores living Life after dreams have been shattered. The thunderous “Magical Fix” shows how some war wounds can only be healed by crossing over into the realm of Death. “Illumination” captures the pure Power and Majesty that was the trademark of Beyond The Veil – Tristania at their utmost finest! This epic search for Justice that only falls back on the status quo of religion and politics is profound, with the outro in Norwegian.

One review note – the song “The Emerald Piper” – listed as Track 7 on Dark – was not on the review copy, nor was the bonus track “Caprice”, so I can’t comment on either one. And also judging from the lyrics, the review copy listed “Vultures” as “Patriot Games”, and vice-versa, which made the actual review process a little confusing.

~Athena Schaffer