Released: 2010, Napalm Records
Reviewer: Theis Rytoft
Three years since their last release Tristania has returned with a new studio album entitled RUBICON. I have never listened much to Tristania, unfortunately, but have a few songs on my mind such as “Angellore”, “Evenfall” and “Crushed Dreams”.
Firstly I want to compliment them on the opening track “Year of The Rat”: a really capturing song, clearly gothic inspired, that brings good melodious parts and a very catchy chorus into play. Especially the female vocals contribute to the catchiness of this song. Just as haunting as it was, just as boring is “Protection”. It offers a slow progression and is exactly the opposite of the previous track: the vocals are boring and the melody is below average as well. It lives a bit up though when male vocals hit the stage.
Tristania makes up for this and puts the bar higher with “Patriot Games”. This projects a soft melody mixed with heavier riffs where both male- and female vocals suits it. The shift between a slow and fast pace greatly contributes to an interesting sound. Partway through the track, some quick drum pedaling attracts my ears. Both track 4 to 6 are around the same level musically as “Protection” whereas track 5, “Exil”, has one good heavy passage (in comparison to RUBICON) in the beginning.
I get more pleased as I reach “Vulture” which features a slow progression where the male vocals and musical composition create a satisfying atmosphere. Both support each other very well and makes for a coherent track. Shortly afterwards the scene shifts and “Amnesia” brings me a very melodious ambience which decreases when vocals are added. This works well and is a nice contrast to what I experienced during “Vulture”. “Megical Fix” bores me though its riffs, growling and and an all right rhythm give it some points. RUBICON ends with “Illumination” which is a long, too long, piece that does not manage to preserve my attention. The vocals, especially the female, are fine on it but the overall tempo and composition are utterly unexciting.
RUBICON is a mixed experience but in the end I am disappointed: I had honestly expected something more gripping, interesting and stimulating than the vast majority of the material Tristania presents me with. There are a few tracks showing the talent the band has and “Year of The Rat” is the absolute highlight of the album.