Theatre of Tragedy Assembly

Assembly carries on where Theatre of Tragedy’s last studio album, Musique, left off. There’s not much metal in the 11 songs on this CD, and although the band has held onto some heavy guitar riffs, they could almost go unnoticed under layers of smooth electro-pop. When the crunchy guitars fade away, the album could pass for a retro night sound track. Songs like "Superdrive” blends British new wave and German synths, and even hint at ABBA, as Liv sings the line, "Take a chance on me.” With growls long gone, softer machine-like male vocals offset the amusingly easy to misunderstand female leads. Liv’s lovely voice seems wasted in the moments when it’s buried in effects and, at times, the album sounds a little too synthetic. Managing to be dark and upbeat at the same time, Assembly firmly places Theatre of Tragedy in the world of electronic music. It’s screaming to be heard in a gloomy goth-industrial club, playing for a room full of black-clad dancers. (Eastwest)