Theatre Of Tragedy - Assembly

Year of Release: 2002
Label: EastWest
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 42:21:00

I don't know what to make of this album. I really don't. Although I hope to know by the end of this review. ;)

I hadn't heard a lot of past Theatre of Tragedy albums so my knowledge is somewhat limited when it comes to their sound, history, etc. But let me try to explain what is going on here. Since the band have come from a (goth) metal background, I'll say this is goth metal meets electronic. So for those fans looking to go back to the "good old days," then you are, once again, in for disappointment. For those with an open ear for something new, then continue on.

Frank Claussen and new guitarist Vegard Thorsen take care of the guitars - prominent at times, completely lacking at other times. They are sporadic at best and, whilst not overly heavy (the mix puts them back right in the middle), they make their impact based on the fact that the majority of the album is driven by electronic music. So the two approaches are distinct and different and complement each other very well. The processed male vocals work beautifully with Liv Kristine's and are performed by long-time TOT member Raymond Rohonyi. Raymond also performs the electronic parts of the album, so if you're a long time fan who doesn't like what they are doing, blame him! ;-P Hein Frode Hansen takes care of the drums which have a similar disposition to that of the guitars. They are there, but where are they? Certainly not up front.

I want to say that for all the electronic parts of Assembly, I like this album a hell of a lot, as it is melodic, soulful, and, well, pop-driven in a modern kind of way. It's just not overly metal. Liv Kristine is really a talented vocalist and she sings with a lot of sexuality, especially on tracks like "Superdrive" and "Play." The band combine that eroticism to perfection with the lyrics. So, what are the deficiencies? Well, there aren't many really. The major deficiency is to ask yourself "What do I expect from the band nowadays?" If you expect metal, then don't even buy it. But if you liked what Theatre of Tragedy have been focusing on with Musique and Aegis, then you'll get a lot of pleasure out of it. The album tapers off a little bit by the end with the last track seemingly filler material.

Assembly works mainly because it is different to what metal listeners are used to hearing and with so much cross-over going on at the moment, someone had to push the electronic/metal boundaries and it looks like Theatre of Tragedy are doing it well. To simplify this to the extreme (which probably does it a disservice but it's not like I know a lot about electronic music), I like this because I was a huge Pet Shop Boys fan from the 80s. And this reminds me of them at times. And their history as a goth metal band mean that they meld the two. And they do it extremely well.

Automatic Lover (4:26) / Universal Race (3:30) / Episode (3:34) / Play (3:25) / Superdrive (3:48) / Let You Down (2:56) / Starlit (4:08) / Envision (3:51) / Flickerlight (3:46) / Liquid Man (4:16) / Motion (4:41)

Frank Claussen - guitars
Lorentz Aspen - keyboards
Vegard K. Thorsen - guitars
Hein Frode Hansen - drums
Raymond Istvàn Rohonyi - electronics and vocals
Liv Kristine - vocals

Theatre Of Tragedy (demo EP) (1994)
Theatre Of Tragedy (1995)
"Der Tanz Der Schatten" (CD-Single) (1996)
Velvet Darkness They Fear (1996)
A Rose For The Dead (EP) (1997)
"Cassandra" (CD-Single) (1998)
Aegis (1998)
"Image" (CD-Single) (2000)
Musique (2000)
Inperspective (EP) (2000)
"Machine" (CD-Single) (2001)
Closure:Live (2001)
Assembly (2002)
"Storm" (CD-Single) (2006)
Forever Is The World (2009)
Addenda (EP) (2010)

Genre: Other

Origin NO

Added: March 25th 2005
Reviewer: Gary Carson
Artist website:
Hits: 468
Language: english


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