Theatre of Tragedy - Forever Is the World (AFM Records)
By: Matt Coe
[8/10] Norway’s Theatre of Tragedy plug along through their 16th year of existence and their seventh studio album Forever is the World. My interest in this sextet starts with 1998’s Aegis, and the subsequent stylistic shift into more electro-pop and industrial fields didn’t sit as well with my ears, although their last album, Storm provided a great bridge between their established gothic sound and their current experimental influences.
You’ll soon sway to the darker, mechanical keyboard feel of winning tracks like “Hide and Seek“ or “Revolution” plus the echoing, almost Big Country meets electronic, hypnotic atmosphere for “Hollow, “with main vocalist Nell Sigland holding court with a siren song of a voice. Sometimes the guitar parts recall the Draconian Times Paradise Lost explosive sales period, most evident on the doom-laden “Frozen” where Raymond Rohonyi provide that death growl contrast to the otherwise serene arrangement.
The band excel at adding nuances to a simple riff, whether it be a slight keyboard change, the drummer shifting gears in tempo, or the vocals lifting you off into a new terrain, Theatre of Tragedy know how to keep you engaged from first song to last. It’s not easy in today’s diverse marketplace to churn out an album that satisfies all tastes.
I believe Forever is the World will appeal the biggest cross section of long-time followers and newcomers, so if you miss early Anneke-led The Gathering and acts who love to play doom, gothic metal, Theatre of Tragedy should be on your radar with this 10-song record.