After the experimental failure of Mju:zik, Theatre of Tragedy fans have a reason to celebrate, namely about Norway's Trail of Tears. Less melancholic then the aforementioned, Trail of Tears combines the tasty recipe of gruff, growling male vocals and soaring, powerful female vocals with faster-paced, gothic-tinged tunes, serving up a delicious musical platter. A tasteful Travis Smith (Opeth, Katatonia, November's Doom) cover -- a rarity for Napalm -- and lucid compositional skills and lyrics factor in, to form a uniformly powerful album. Helena Michaelsen's deep alto inflections mold a brilliantly simple formula, rather than a complex operatic web, while Ronny Thorsen has a decipherable mid-range growl. Michaelsen's vocals are a combination of Dawn from Rain Fell Within and Eva-Marie Larsson from Dark Tranquillity's The Gallery, sounding thick and heavy across the dark music. Musically, there's nothing too unique about the album; simply compare any Theatre of Tragedy, My Dying Bride, Sins of Thy Beloved, or Lacuna Coil release and you'll hear the same formulas at work. This band does a good job, however, of pulling crucial elements out of each influence to make a sound that's fresh and listenable, instead of off-kilter and struggling for innovation. However, while listening to Profoundemonium, one gets the feeling that this has all been heard before. Oh well, fans of the genre will eat this for breakfast, and rightfully so, as it does have a powerful emotional engine propelling it, and some killer female vocals. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the masterful "Released at Last." Lyrically centered on a recently murdered female victim, the song accelerates toward a vocally concussive conclusion when suddenly, at the five-minute mark, Michaelsen makes her soaring mark on metal history, beautifully strangling a high note for what seems like a 12-second eternity. You'll find yourself rewinding that one a few times. The energy of the record picks up as it nears its conclusion, as does the heaviness, almost like a momentous crescendo. For instance, "Image of Hope" crushes with its Paradise Lost leads and no-frills Edge of Sanity approach to gothic/doom, and "Disappointment's True Face" is a layered bombastic love affair with Katatonia and Rain Fell Within. The more this album is played, the better it breathes and sounds. Like other Napalm gothic releases, it does unfortunately suffer from the "heard it before" or "all sounds similar" bug, which sometimes plagues the label's albums. This can be overlooked and remedied with a few sharp listens that help to unveil the finer points of this album, making it a consistent and sought-after release. Chock up another small victory for Napalm and Trail of Tears.
AllMusic Review by Jason Hundey