A sad but fitting end to the Trail Of Tears story.
My love affair with Trail Of Tears began with the release in 2007 of the amazing ‘Existentia’, an album I stumbled upon whilst hunting out new Gothic bands for my collection, they were also one of the main reasons for my traveling to Belgium in 2008 to see them perform live at the prestigious Metal Female Voices Fest. I was instantly hooked by their performance, stage presence and the fact that they were such nice people to talk to as well. Therefore it is with a great deal of sadness that I review the bands final album ( although I would urge them to never say never) ’Oscillation’. An album that is thoroughly befitting as a finale, a fine and moving collection of Gothic Metal mastery that should make all that listen to it realise what a void will be left in the genre now these guys are calling things to a halt.
The first word that sprang to mind when playing this album was ’epic’ and that is a word often over used to describe albums these days but in this case it’s a description that is fully warranted and deserved. Whilst the tempo may change and indeed the mood, at no point on this album do you feel that you’re listening to a band in their death throes or a bunch of musicians going through the motions. From start to finish Trail Of Tears seem hell bent on going out on a high and boy do they achieve it.
The opening strains of ’Waves Of Existence’ soon build into something quite special, a beautiful, haunting fast paced number that sets the tone wonderfully well with it’s excellent drum sound and bass lines, even down to the prophetic line ’Nothing Lasts Forever’.
Cathrine Paulsen puts in the vocal performance of a life time on this record, delivering every shred of feeling that lies within her soul on each and every track, ’Crimson Leads On The Trail Of Tears’ and the stunning title track just two to mention out of many, all more than ably supported by the dark menacing tones of Ronny Thorsen, who is the perfect foil for Cathrine’s voice.
The production sound is also absolutely top drawer and in some ways it should be, after all, this is an album that has taken not far off two years to complete but the band have used this time to their maximum advantage, honing and fine tuning each track to what can only be described as perfection.
‘The Dawning’, another track deserving of a special mention, is just sublime, brimming over with power and passion, wrapped up in some glorious riffs and Symphonic backing that is simply mesmeric. The demonic, doom riffs of ’Our Grave Philosophy’ add a much darker edge to things, whilst ’Lost In Life’ brings the pace right back down to a more balladic level. However, the latter may just be my personal favourite of the bunch, a quite reflective track in many ways, it again showcases Cathrine’s enviable talent to its exquisite best.
If you are tempted to buy this album, then try and grab the limited edition Digipak version which comes with two bonus tracks.
So, to sum it all up, firstly I must say a huge and genuine thank you to the band for everything they have given in their seventeen year career, a career that has spawned seven full length albums and countless tours, a feat in itself in the modern music industry. Secondly, I hang on to the hope that they will look back on things and maybe reconsider the situation in a couple of years time. Finally, whatever each member decides to do in the future, I’m sure it will be a success.
Trail Of Tears 1997 – 2013, thanks for the memories.
1. Waves Of Existence
2. Scream Out Loud
3. Crimson Leads On The Trail Of Tears
5. Path Of Destruction
6. Vultures Guard My Shadow
7. The Dawning
8. Room 306
9. Our Grave Philosophy
10. Lost In Life
12. Sleep Forever
13. Quick Fix Of Shame
Trail Of Tears are;
Ronny Thorsen – Vocals
Cathrine Paulsen – Vocals
Bjørn Erik Næss – Guitars
Endre Moe – Bass Guitars
Bjørn Dugstad Rønnow – Drums
‘Oscillation’ is out now and available through Massacre Records.