TRAIL OF TEARS – Existentia

TRAIL OF TEARS - Existentia
  • 7/10
    TRAIL OF TEARS - Existentia - 7/10


Napalm Records
Release date: January 29, 2007

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Some bands manage to pick a name that already shows what the listener can expect. Trail Of Tears is one of them. Their name -– unless you expect an Eddie Vedder lament, which is definitely ruled out by the cover painting -– points you directly into the Dark Rock and Gothic Metal direction. So, even if your are not familiar with the music of Trail Of Tears yet, although they can already look back upon four releases on Napalm records that is surely not uncommon, as they did not make their big hit album yet, you can put them into context. That is very important, as Existentia may be the one album mentioned: The one that may make them put their foot down in the Metal world. Or is it better to say “could have been?”

At the end of a problem-ridden Mexico tour in 2006, all band members left Trail Of Tears mastermind Ronny Thorsen to effectively end the band. Although Thorsen announced that the band would continue to exist, the future will show if Existentia is not only their best album to date, but also their last.

It would really be a shame. In a genre past its zenith of sensation, where most bands merely re-arrange the existing traits necessary for the music to fit to the taste of the target audience, Trail Of Tears manage to make this rearrangement sound quite fresh and original. The typical traits are there, of course, but the mixture between slow, quiet parts and heavy riffing, all garnished with no less than three voices, is so well done that it keeps the listener interested. The female voice, plus the evil growls is a common style, but Trail Of Tears spice it with strong, clean male vocals, so that they have the perfect singer for any mood they want to achieve. In contrast to many Gothic Metal bands where the guitar often disappears behind a wall of sound, even in their most bombastic moments –- of which they have quite a few -– the modern, heavy sound of the most beloved instrument is always setting the tone. To the extent Evanescence, Edenbridge, and Nightwish lack the Metal edge, Existentia may be the album one was waiting for to fill the gap. After a bombastic, melodic chorus, Trail Of Tears follow with blastbeats and audible Death Metal influences (“Venom Inside Your Veins”).

The compositions are so different from what one expects under the label Dark Gothic Metal that the album needs a few spins before most of the songs stick, maybe with the exception of “Decadence Becomes Me” and “Empty Room.” At first, the progressiveness makes some of the tracks sound alike, or makes it difficult to differentiate between tracks. But, often albums like this prove to be CDs one puts on even in the years to come, while other ones that were brilliant the first time only gather dust on the shelves. The best and closest comparison for their music is probably this: take two early albums of Therion, take their last two albums, mix it and you may have Existentia


  • Frank Jaeger

    Frank was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Bavaria, Germany. He has worked in the games industry for more than 20 years, now on the manufacturing side, before on the publishing end. Before this, he edited and handled the layout for a city mag in northern Germany ... maybe that is why he love being part of anything published. Frank got hooked on Metal at the age of 14 when a friend introduced him to AC/DC. They were listening to The Beatles, Madness, and The Police, and he decided they should move on. Well, they did, Back in Black became Frank's first Metal album, and since Germany is reasonably close to England, they had some small New Waves Of British Heavy Metal washing up on their shores: Tygers Of Pan Tang, Samson, Gillan, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Sweet Savage, Diamond Head, etc. If he had to pick his favorite styles, Prog and Power Metal would be at the top of the list.

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