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Review: Theatre of Tragedy's 2nd studio album "Velvet Darkness They Fear" released in 1996

Updated on December 30, 2017
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Ara is currently an Accounting student at Glendale Community College in Glendale. CA. His main goal in life is the enjoyment of it.

Liv Kristine Espanaes the former front woman of Theatre of Tragedy

Liv Kristine was the vocalist for Theatre of Tragedy from 1993 through 2003. She would then join the band called Leaves' Eyes.
Liv Kristine was the vocalist for Theatre of Tragedy from 1993 through 2003. She would then join the band called Leaves' Eyes. | Source

The album Velvet Darkness They Fear is another outstanding album from this Norwegian band

Norwegian metal band Theatre of Tragedy went into the year 1996 being already on a high standing with their self-titled debut album. Their second studio album called "Velvet Darkness They Fear" continues in the style of their first album but it may be even heavier and slower than that one.

A photo of the CD Velvet Darkness They Fear


Velvet Darkness They Fear: album review part 1

The first song which is the title track has some piano in it and I can sense that the song has this sort of ominous, suspenseful feeling to it. Liv Kristine’s vocals start and carry on into the next song called “Fair and Guiling Copesmate Death.” There is a use of an instrument called the electric or “E” bow which helps create a nice atmospheric part in the song. I see a bit of an Ancient Ceremony influence in this song.

Songs 3 and 4 are two of the best songs in this album

This writer is kind of biased as well when choosing which albums to review. Sometimes I get the idea to review a certain album based on a sort of “a-ha” moment where a light bulb turns on in the depths of my mind. That’s what happened as I got the thought to review another Theatre of Tragedy album. Liv Kristine’s pleasant vocals are a great fit especially in the song “Bring Forth Ye Shadow.” She sings or chants “dim the lights, I cannot see. Bring forth Ye Shadow.” The next song called “Seraphic Deviltry” has a dual vocal part by Liv Kristine and Raymond Rohonyi which can be described as either a good dual vocal attack or better yet, a great dual vocal part in an otherwise brilliant doom death metal album.

The beauty of the song And When He Falleth

The next song called “And When He Falleth” begins with a beautiful piano part in it and this is also another instrument that the band Ancient Ceremony does use in their music as well. The song develops into a heavy and catchy riff filled part with Raymond’s death metal vocals accompanying the song. The song makes references to plays such as The Divine Comedy. The lyrics are once again in the old English style. I also notice a sort of Cradle of Filth influence in this song with the spoken narration.

The song called Bring Forth Ye Shadow

Why was Theatre of Tragedy such a good band?

However, Theatre of Tragedy were a band that played with less speed and more melody and that’s more important for a band that wants to sustain a large following of loyal fans. I guess this Norwegian band understood that it wasn’t just enough to be able to play very fast. You also have to play with melody, feeling, and passion. That’s why Theatre of Tragedy are one of my favorite Norwegian bands along with Arcturus.

Favorite Theatre of Tragedy album among these three

Which one of these three Theatre of Tragedy albums is your favorite?

See results

The biggest reason why Velvet Darkness They Fear is such a great album

Black as the Devil Painteth is the strongest song in this album due to the well-tuned guitar sound, good death metal vocals, and solid riffing. This is a good enough reason to support the greatness of this album. The song has all the necessary attributes to be a great song.

Further analysis to support the greatness of this band compared to American death metal bands

Let’s see some American band play this style of death metal and do this well. I bet they couldn’t do it today in 2017 let alone in 1996. American death metal declined long ago after the unfortunate passing of Chuck Schuldiner. Norway is now better in the death metal category than many other nations and they should be very proud of themselves! These statements are made to emphasize that other countries are catching up to the United States musically and even surpassing the United States especially in the genre of standard death metal. Even though Theatre of Tragedy disbanded, they are still one of the finest bands to have ever been in the heavy metal scene. There is little to complain about in terms of Theatre of Tragedy’s second album and it may be even better than their first one.

Grade: 95 out of 100 points for a solid A!

The best song in this album

The song called When He Falleth

© 2017 Ara Vahanian


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