TRAIL OF TEARS – Oscillation
The seventh studio album for Norwegian dark gothic metal band Trail Of Tears comes fresh on the heels of a new label deal with Massacre Records. Beginning their writing sessions in 2011, the quintet would record again in the familiar French Sound Suite Studio with Terje Refsnes behind the boards who they’ve worked with on and off since 2002’s "A New Dimension Of Might" record. "Oscillation" is a 13 song, 59 minute plus platter that travels through dynamic gothic metal pastures, incorporating a slew of extreme and commercial elements that should keep the listeners on their toes.
The cascading, echo guitar passage that opens "Waves of Existence" quickly gives way to this thumping gothic charge, Bjorn Erik Naess using a myriad of heavier picking and clean transitions on his guitar while extreme vocalist Ronny Thorsen and female clean vocalist Catherine Paulsen trade off the verse and chorus work to heighten the contrasts within the song. "Scream Out Loud" as a follow up is slightly more commercial in nature, the keyboard hook and alluring high melodies more in line with long-time Nightwish fans (although the whispering vocals from Ronny bring classic Moonspell to the table).
Many will appreciate the heads down emphasis on aggressive guitars and semi-progressive/ tribal transitions for the title track (some of the best drumming on the album courtesy of Bjorn Dugstad Ronnow) and the upper soprano vocal delivery from Catherine on "Room 306"- wrenching out all of the drama that makes this sub-genre appealing to a wide swath of the populace. Trail Of Tears belong in the metal genre as they are unafraid to approach these arrangements with ferocity- emphasizing darkness and despair through all facets while adding outside influences from the symphonic world as texture and not overpowering the mix.
"Oscillation" is a strong effort from Trail Of Tears- packed with an assortment of dark gothic metal colors and professionally executed from a veteran act. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait 4 years between the next recordings.