At this point in their career, Theatre of Tragedy has all but eschewed their Scandinavian metal roots in a direction that is a lot closer to Siouxsie & the Banshees jamming with Ace of Base. No, that's not a joke. Even more surprising, Theatre of Tragedy pulls off the synth pop quite admirably. Much of the disc has a somewhat retro quality to it, paying homage to the '80s -- "Play" sounds like the Pet Shop Boys would have sounded had they been clad in black lipstick and leather when recording "West End Girls" and "Superdrive" could have been the B-side to "Like a Virgin"; however, it also has a space-age modern feel as well, further adding to the schizophrenic nature of Assembly. Death metal growls are completely missing, and frankly, not missed. Like Mortiis did with the preceding year's Smell of Rain, Theatre of Tragedy made a very credible album that is quite out of character, and they both succeed because of (not in spite of) that very reason. The black metal kids will hate it (even the guitars seem to vanish two songs in), but sometimes the view from a dancefloor is a lot nicer than that from a mosh pit.
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AllMusic Review by Brian O'Neill