Tag Archives: trail of tears

Revisiting “Metal Edge” Magazine: The CD Reviews – Part 11

These album overviews were originally written for Metal Edge Magazine when I was a contributor to their “Hear Us Out” CD reviews section back in 2006-2007. With the magazine wrapping up publication a few months ago, I decided to add them to the context of our PiercingMetal presentation. I felt that by doing this I would not only be raising the horns in remembrance of the magazine but would also be able to showcase just how different writing for a major publication was when it all came down to it. Since “Hear Us Out” notations were usually “100” words in length, these posts will feature several reviews each until we run out of them. The freelance writing tenure at Metal Edge Magazine was discussed on THIS LINK so please check that out when done. Here are the reviews, so “Hear Us Out”.

Trail Of Tears: “Existentia” (Napalm Records)

Dark Gothic Metal takes the brooding, morose textures of the conventional Gothic style and adds levels of drama and power that is more akin to Black or Power Metal. Sweeping and thunderous at every turn the effects come to life due to the three lead singers that the band possesses. They duel throughout the recording using dark, clean and operatic vocals to cover the spectrum while the musicians combine intense riffs that are chock full of power. TOT serves the need for those seeking intense music with dynamic vocals; as result Existentia remains exciting with each and every listen.

Tristania: “Illumination” (SPV Records)

Norway’s Tristania moves deeper into the Gothic with their latest release by serving fans a quasi-Evanescence feel but with a lot more depth and dramatics than that outfit provides. Brooding and dark, the textures both chill and warm the blood as Vibeke Stene provides siren melody and operatic styles to the sullen and deep words of her male counterpart Osten. “Destination Departure” & “Mercyside” are its most captivating tracks and will surely enthrall you after moments of hearing them. It’s new ground for the band as they wisely blend Doom into their signature sound as well. The dark never looked as bright before now.
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PiercingMetal’s “Best Of” 2008: The Videos and Concerts

Hello again, we are back with the rest of the years “Best Of” for 2008. In an earlier installment I posted all of the albums that blew me away and now its time to showcase the videos and concerts along with a few other quick items. Please take a look down below and get ready to share your own favorites with us.

Logo - The Best Of

The Best DVD’s of 2008:

Various Artists “Roadrunner United” (Roadrunner Records): Filmed concert with Heavy Metal’s finest celebrating the record labels 25th anniversary. Lots of fun stuff here.

Opeth “The Roundhouse Tapes” (Peaceville Records): Filmed during the “Ghost Reveries” tour and a follow up to the CD released last year.

Twisted Sister “Live At The Astoria” (Demolition Records): The SMF’s from NYC remind London and the world about why they are a Metal super power to this very day.

Within Temptation “Black Symphony” (Roadrunner Records): A stunning live concert performance that pairs the Dutch sensations with a full orchestra. This is an amazing show. Audio CD included.

Iron Maiden “Live After Death” (Universal Music): Never before on DVD this classic Iron Maiden show from the “Powerslave” tour, this release was loaded with extras and is listed as required Metal.

Lamb Of God “Walk With Me In Hell” (Epic Records): This documentary took the viewer on a three year trek with the band and was insightful, entertaining and sometimes jarring in its honesty. Great job guys.

Dimmu Borgir “The Invaluable Darkness Tour” (Nuclear Blast Records): The giants of Norwegian Black Metal have their tour captured on DVD for more to enjoy. A great set with a ton of features.

Blackmore’s Night “Paris Moon” (SPV Records): A great concert from the Renaissance Rockers. Bonus CD included.
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Trail Of Tears @ B.B. King Blues Club (1/20/2008)

This was actually my second show of the Metal Year 2008 and it was rather special since it would not only be Trail Of Tears first time in NYC at this venue, but it was also the chance to see the openers Unexpect, The Agonist and Echoes Of Eternity once again. I had attended shows that they played out before and really dug what they were all about so it would be a nice bonus. Scroll past the logo below to be brought to our article as we’ve commentary and photos from all acts provided for your enjoyment.

Logo - Trail Of Tears

Artist: Trail Of Tears
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: The Agonist, Echoes Of Eternity, Unexpect
Date: 1/20/2008
Label: Napalm Records

It was a brutally cold evening in January when Norway’s Gothic Symphonic Metal sensation Trail Of Tears decided to pay New York City a visit and while the month would generally be chilly around this time of year, we had been experiencing unseasonable warmth in the city until this very day. The wind and chilling temperatures made outside travel unbearable and it was clear to many that the band had brought some of the frigid Norse winds with them for tonight’s trip. The show this evening would be a part of the bands very first journey to this part of the world and “Existentia” is their latest slab of music that comes to us care of Napalm Records. The show would find the band supported by Unexpect, The Agonist, and Echoes Of Eternity so anyone who had seen or heard these bands in the recent past knew right away that it was going to kick a lot of ass from start to finish. From the look of the promotion for the show, it seemed as though Unexpect would start things off once again and be the first band up at a very early point. It also appeared that Echoes Of Eternity would be the direct support for Trail Of Tears as their drummer’s kit was set up as the main kit for TOT to use as well, yet when I arrived I found out that The Agonist would go right before Trail and Echoes would instead follow Unexpect. The downside would be discovered early as the first band would have to go on be at 6:30pm based on the venue hosting an event right after this one. Suddenly the mental tape player in my head started to spin up “Oh Canada” and I knew that this meant Uexpect would be making their way to the stage. The crowd had not really gathered in the venue yet and was rather sparse so as much as I was excited to see this group perform I had hoped for any delay to offer more people the chance to make their way inside.
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“Existentia” by Trail Of Tears

Artist: Trail Of Tears
Title: “Existentia”
Label: Napalm Records
Release Date: 1/26/2007
Genre: Dark Gothic Metal
Rating: 4/5

This follow up to Trail Of Tears monster piece “Free Fall Into Fear” would utilize some of the same principles that worked well for that recording but this time around a little more emphasis would be placed on the Dark Gothic Metal aspect. While possessing three sets of vocals on previous recordings the dueling male voices would be more upfront this time around and the result is a thunderous and brooding piece that gets things going right away with the opener “Deceptive Mirrors”. It’s here we find the growls of Ronny Thorsen backed by the deep and dramatic voice of Green Carnation’s Kjetil Nordhus over a driving musical score that even adds some symphonic chorals for good measure. The light and dark aspect of the male vocalists works well for TOT and it’s all complimented by the beautiful voice of Emmanuelle Zoldan. “Existentia” would be my second experience with the band and compared to “FFIF” I can definitely say that this release might be a little more accessible to the listeners of other Gothic Metal bands like Tristania and perhaps even Therion. I enjoy what the Darker side of Goth Metal brings to the table as it takes the conventional stuff and makes it all the more dramatic and thereby making the music a little more exciting and unpredictable. The numerous vocal tradeoffs here make the listener feel as though they are experiencing a scripted stage performance at times.
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“Free Fall Into Fear” by Trail Of Tears

Artist: Trail Of Tears
Title: “Free Fall Into Fear”
Label: Napalm Records
Release Date: 4/26/2005
Genre: Gothic/Black Metal
Rating: 8/10

I did not know what to make of Trail Of Tears when I first began the CD but I did realize very quickly that the group was onto something with this release. A dark mixture of Black and Gothic Metal with a number of vocal styles across the album make this an interesting musical journey. When you add to this some thundering drums and mood laden keyboards you have a band that can interest fans of multiple genres. Before this album, the band had singer Catherine Paulsen bringing a female vocal to the group but she has now been replaced by Green Carnations Kjetil Nordhus. This is a great band for Kjetil to be a part of and since Green Carnation is such a unique animal as well I find his contributions to TOT all the more compelling. Now with two male vocals (the other being handled by Ronny Thorsen) a wider variety of drama is able to be presented to the listener. There was so much of a mix happening here with some slower “more Gothic” parts and then suddenly you are swept away in a pounding Black Metal riff that shows more sophistication than the genre is often afforded. I admit I found this album incredibly powerful and can see it making a dent in the fan base of bands that have both an Atmospheric and Extreme sense to their music. Fans of bands like Samael and Tristania might enjoy this especially when they hear songs like “Frail Expectations” which begins with not only harpsichord but also blast drumming. Clearly, adding the talents of Nordhus gave this band a well-needed move in a Darker direction than they might have had by keeping the female vocalist.
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