Tristania Ashes

In many ways, Ashes seems to erase the four years that have passed since the release of Tristania’s last album, and third full-length, World of Glass. The basic musical premise is still much the same — death and black-infused goth metal with classical and electronic flavouring — but the blend now has a slightly different effect overall, rising up more like a related bloodline than the direct progeny of the band’s previous work. Ashes weaves a path across varied ground — in the bombastic opener "Libre,” the muted spell of "Cure,” the brooding anthem "The Wretched,” the evil groove of "Circus” — demonstrating that an extended time lag and a couple of line-up shifts have nowhere near sapped Tristania’s creativity. The album leans slightly more toward contemplation than brutal attack as it unwinds, but offers a good heavy dose of darkness nonetheless. (SPV)