“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 Before this album, the band had singer Catherine Paulsen bringing a female vocal to the group but she has now been replaced by Green Carnations Kjetil Nordhus.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.

This seven member band is also steeped in some progressive styles for as each note hits you, you are able to sense the level of ability the band possesses. I feel Dimmu Borgir fans can find something in this as well for while not as Black as the Norwegian Dark Gods, there is a gloomy feel and symphonic edge to portions of the album. “The Architect Of My Downfall” is definitely one of these tracks and if not for the clean vocals at parts it could be mistaken for DB themselves. The line up is rounded out by Runar Hansen- lead guitars, Terje Heiseldal- guitars, Kjell Rune Hagen- bass,
Frank Roald Hagen- synths, and Jonathan Perez- drums.

The other great side of this band is the fact that hailing from Norway they are showing the levels that Dark Metal can be taken to. Not all groups need to be cloning stuff like Dimmu, but can use some inspiration from the group and bring you into a realm that is entirely their own. Take the free fall into fear.

Track Listing:
1. Joyless Trance Of Winter
2. Carrier Of The Seas Of Life
3. Frail Expectations
4. Cold Hand Of Retribution
5. Watch You Fall
6. The Architect Of My Downfall
7. Drink Away The Demons
8. Point Zero
9. Dry Well Of Life
10. The Face Of Jealousy

Official Website: http://www.trailoftears.no

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