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May 18, 2024

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Theatre of Tragedy
Aegis (Century Media)

By: Jeb Branin

In spite of being built from a foundation of metal, THEATRE OF TRAGEDY have really moved beyond almost anything you could still label 'heavy metal'. If there is indeed any sort of threshold between the gothic realm and the metal one this album checks in decidedly on the gothic side. A dark ambiance created of swirling melody and melancholy tones is ever present. Male and female vocals vie for dominance but both are effective (individually and together) in knitting the weighty emotional skein found throughout the album. Naturally the male voice captures a harsher edge and the female voice manages a more serene complexity. Musically the vibe suffers just a bit from wanderlust and lack of focus but then again those same qualities give the album its surreal presence. Fascinating if not very listenable. The cover art is a thing of beauty but thanks to Century Media's obsession with making their promos as visually unappealing as possible (in an attempt to prevent unauthorized resales) the picture is so small on my copy I can't even begin to appreciate it.
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