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For 15 years, Tristania have been setting and changing the standard of music for the Symphonic & Gothic Metal music scene. Widow's Weeds takes the band back to where they began as their debut album. Widow's Weed is one of the only two albums Tristania did with their founder and main song writer, Morten Veland before leaving at the dawn of a new millennium.
The album shows a symphonic gothic kind of music with doom and death metal influences. The album used melodic death metal style riffs overlayed with choirs, acoustic vibes and enchanting vocals from Vibeke Stene. This makes Widow's Weeds a dark, but magical album.
It's considered to be one of the most perfect albums of their genre for it's fragile and gentle touches. Although I prefer some of their later albums like Ashes, Beyond The Veil, Illumination and World Of Glass, I kinda miss this sound. Because My head thinks that the next album after Rubicon (which would be the second with new singer Mary and includes a very different line up) is going to be awesome, but my heart thinks that Vibeke was the heart of the band and without her, there's no Tristania.
Despite preferring some of their other albums, Widow's Weeds is a great album. I think the album is very hard to get into with the exception of My Lost Lenore. That's because Widow's Weeds is not as accessible as some of the others, but it's why so many of the fans love it. They love how moody it is.
Tristania had a brilliant stage presence at the time. A very strong image and also sound. Widow's Weeds sounds like a mixture of death metal and church music. The first song of the album, Evenfall is split into two tracks. The first part called Preludium is an introduction which sounds like church music with Vibeke being the leader of a choir. Evanfall is beautiful, but it makes me want to fall asleep.
Pale Enchantress is a lot more interesting. The violins on this track are wonderful on this song. The introduction reminds me of Angina from their follow up album, Beyond The Veil. The lyrics on Pale Enchantress are wonderful and the aggressive vocals make it sound like a true buried gem.
December Elegy is one the slowest and moodiest songs of the album. You can really hear Vibeke putting all her effort into the song and the small little jumps in her notes, as if she was feeling and meaning every word of it. I wish they kept the grungy parts out though.
Midwintertears is a desolate and distant song. Man, this song makes me wish I could have this Tristania back, although I like the new line up of Tristania, their music is plain compared to this. It's also really old school and makes feel like I'm going back in time.
Angellore contains guest vocals from Østen Bergøy who was a session member at the time before he joined Tristania full time. There's plenty of Vibikists and Mortenmaniacs within Tristania's fanbase, but I've always been more of an Østen fan myself. Angellore is on fire, although it's a bit overproduced.
My Lost Lenore is the band's signature song. The melodies contain a lovely baseline sandwiched with luscious piano melodies and atmospheric production. I particually love the verses how they over-layer Vibeke's whispers with her operatic vocals. Morten's growls are rough and he sounds like he's full of phlegm here, but this track is still a masterpiece, thanks to Vibeke Stene. It's one of Tristania's best songs for it's catchy and unforgettable tunes.
These are some of the tracks that are a highlight for me. Later editions contains two bonus tracks which also contain the same formula and fit perfectly with Widow's Weeds.
It's a really lovely album. It does have it's dull moments but the great moments are exceptional. The production is not as clean as later albums and I don't think it's meant to be either. As I said before, Widow's Weeds is really hard to get into as an album. Sometimes the sounds are so complex that it's quite difficult to listen to because it's quite morbid at times. I still love this album, and I think Widow's Weeds was a sign of more epic albums to come.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
3 Pale Enchantress
4 December Elegy
7 My Lost Lenore
8 Wasteland's Caress