Tristania – Rubicon
‘Rubicon‘ is a new chapter in the history of Norwegian gothic metal band Tristania. A band that became famous of a strong ensemble from high female vocals, grunts and orchestrations. With each album they challenged themselves to develop their sound and discover new ways.
In 2007 one of the best female vocalists Vibeke Stene decided to part ways and suddenly the band lost its intense factor and frontwoman. Only Einar Moen (keyboards) and Anders Hoyvik Hidle (grunts, guitars) are left from the original line-up. Mariangela Demurtas is the new face of Tristania, changing the soprano voice into a more modern sound. On this seventh album she is very convincing and a new element in the community singing, those harmonies are the strongest trademark of Tristania.
Song – by – Song review
Opener ‘Year Of The Rat’ has everything in it to become a hit. Not only because of the catchy melody lines, but also it units everything Tristania stand for nowadays. The fans will recognize the catchy sound from ‘Illumination’ (2007) with dominate drums from Tarald Lie Jr. versus the melodic keyboards. On top of that there’s the strong voice of Mariangela Demutras, in duet with Kjetil Nordhus (Green Carnation).
They create high expectations and it also reveals that the band spent a lot of time on the details, an excellent production. It all fits perfectly and after some time you will discover more layers. Like the dark, intense whisper from Osten Bergoy, who isn’t a permanent member anymore, although he wrote many lyrics for Rubicon.
‘Protection’ is a much darker song, where Demutras shows a deeper part of her voice. A strong bond with their roots, excel themselves during a rising climax with deep grunts from Anders. The adrenaline grows during ‘Patriot Games’ to a very progressive, guitar dominated song, with influences from Lacuna Coil. Kjetil is an unique vocalist, guiding you truth many emotions. The poetic lyrics are a strong component.
Tristania is not only bombastic, but minimalistic on ‘The Passing’ with Ole Vistnes on bass (and vocals), slowly dragging you down in an unknown adventure. Then Pete Johansen appears with an enchanting violin sound, time-travelling to ‘World Of Glass’ (2001) and there it is the beautiful ensemble of voices fluently becoming one.No words can describe that special feeling. ‘Exile’ is a perfect blending of doom dark mail voices, a raw Mariangela representing a strong emotional inner strength. That line continues on ‘Sirens’.
‘Vulture’ is a raw diamond. It starts basic with Kjetil and drums, growing in a diversity of vocals. Futuristic bass and guitars create a new dimension, Mariangela has no role in every song and that makes Rubicon a real challenge, unpredictable, filled with creativity. The long expected violin returns on ‘Amnesia’ referring to their debut. A ballade so fragile, painting a wide landscape of harmonies.
‘Magical Fix’ is definitely the most experimental song of the whole album and shakes you up. Here Mariangela has something in common with Vibeke. Vocal wise a totally new course is found in uprising spoken parts, screams and a high serene intermezzo.
‘Illumination’ is the last surprise, with a Norwegian spoken part as dark as the night. A unforgettable climax by Kjetil. The song has a pop structure, but Mariangela fluently becomes one with the man vocal lines, instead of a contrast it becomes a massive wall of power. This time the instruments are more dominate in the mixture, creating switches between acoustic light guitars from Anders and Gury Smordal Losnegaard, to an aggressive metal sound.
‘Rubicon’ is the crown on twelve years of Tristania; unique, powerful, and unforgettable! They invented the format, and still are standing strong, making a statement for a promising future. It deserves your attention, because they are back on top of the gothic metal scene. Its simply beautiful music with strong harmonies and outstanding vocalists.