Review by Tony Cannella
Label : Metal Mind Productions
Norway's Theatre of Tragedy were undeniable leaders in the female fronted metal movement and one of the first bands of note to incorporate beauty and the beast style male/female vocals. They also served as an introduction to many (myself included) to that genre of metal. They released their fantastic self-titled debut in 1995 then something strange happened. In the year 2000 the band's musical style changed radically, from the dark, gothic metal that the band had been known for to a more industrial/electronic sound. The band's first foray into this musical realm was 2000's "Musique" and it has been re-issued by the Polish label Metal Mind Productions with three bonus tracks. It is time to go back to revisit this bizarre chapter in the history of the mighty Theatre of Tragedy.
Right away you knew that this would be different from most Theatre of Tragedy releases judging by the album cover and song titles, and we were right. The opening track "Machine" is an appropriate introduction to the bands new style. Gone are the death grunts provided by Raymond I. Rohonyi as he employs a new style that ties right in with the electronica vibe. This song has an infectiously catchy chorus and melody and is a huge highlight. "City Of Light" is next and it opens with a simple yet catchy guitar riff and the vocals between Raymond and Liv Kristine are split pretty evenly here. "Fragment" has a dark eerie vibe to it and it one of the best that this CD has to offer. Other highlights include: "Musique", "Commute", "Radio", "Reverie", "The New Man" and the track that was made into a video "Image". The three bonus tracks are quite worthwhile as well. The first song of the three is called "Quirk" and it is the original version of the song that would later become "Image". This version is not as up-tempo as the final version of the song and it has a darker and heavier vibe. After that there are two unreleased mixes of "Radio" and "Reverie". The songs on "Musique" are quite shorter than the ones the band had written on previous albums. These songs are all in the 3-4 minute range and are designed to have immediate impact, which they do for the most part.
This album was a huge disappointment to many ToT fans, but it is actually pretty good. Okay, maybe it doesn't compare to their classic material ("Velvet Darkness They Fear" anyone?), but it was a bold step from a band who had to know that there would be a backlash. Now, after living with this for almost 10-years I can take it for what it is, a radical departure from a band who are not afraid to take chances. The band have since returned somewhat to their old style of music with a new female singer and former female singer Liv Kristine is enjoying worldwide success with Leaves' Eyes. So the story has a happy ending after all.
Line Up (In This Album):