Trail of Tears

Existentia

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Long-running Norwegian goth metal act Trail of Tears recorded Existentia in a period of personnel upheaval, yet the album is of a piece with all that came before. If anything, the band's sound is somewhat more direct and simplified on this album, with less of the keyboards and female vocals of their earlier work and a more prominent position for the unison-riff guitars. As always, lead singer Ronny Thorsen is the album's focal point: one of the genre's better vocalists, even capable of providing the requisite death grunt vocals without sounding completely comical, Thorsen is Trail of Tears' primary raison d'ĂȘtre. Without him, Existentia would sound like pretty much any other goth metal album, complete with the de rigueur passages of prog rocky atmospherics amid the usual heads-down riffing. Even with Thorsen's talents, Existentia proves that Trail of Tears don't have much to break them out of the goth metal pack.

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