Artist: Trail Of Tears 
   Title: Bloodstained Endurance
   Label: Napalm Records

This is the sixth album from Norwegian goth-metallers Trail of Tears yet probably the first that a UK audience will be widely exposed to as until now, the band have been relatively unknown on these shores. Despite being formed over a decade ago, releasing their first album in 1998 and having played several major European festivals including Dynamo, Wacken and Summer Breeze, such is the nature of the market over here in the UK that we often don’t catch on to certain bands until years after our counterparts in mainland Europe.

Trail of Tears are described as ‘Gothic Metal’ and it’s a fairly even balance between the heavy, doom-laden sound pioneered by Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride in the early ‘90’s and the more symphonic, keyboard-driven sound of bands such as Nightwish and Within Temptation. Opener “The Feverish Alliance” displays this contrast excellently with Cathrine Paulsen’s haunting vocals counterbalancing the rough growl of her co-vocalist Ronny Thorsen. It’s a theme that runs consistently throughout the whole album as the following track “Once Kissed By The Serpent (Twice Bitten By Truth)” offers more of the same and despite having the most gloriously clichéd goth-metal song name ever, it (unintentionally I’m sure) has a ludicrously Rammstein-esque intro at the beginning that is oddly reminiscent of the Germans’ “Link 2-3-4” song. 

Title track “Bloodstained Endurance” offers the first glimpse of variety on the album with a beautifully played acoustic intro before going into a real head-banger of a riff that you can’t help but nod your head in approval to – the album’s best track and its obvious centrepiece. “Triumphant Gleam” and “In the Valley of Ashes” are bona-fide stompers with some seriously heavy riffage, songs that with the aid of wider exposure could easily pack the dancefloors of many a rock club. “A Storm at Will” is more of a solo showcase for Cathrine Paulsen to really emphasise the range of her talents and show off what she can do and is the sort of gothic power-ballad that Within Temptation do so well.

After this, the album goes back to business as usual and there aren’t really any more surprises for the listener on the second half of the record. That’s not to say that Trail of Tears are one-trick ponies – far from it. The band draw on a wide range of influences from death metal to goth via classical & opera and thrash and choose to throw all of this into nearly every song so that each track is its own individual melting pot of musical ideas. 

The songs are all top quality metal songs with stomping riffs and infectious melodies and this album is a must for all goth & symphonic metal fans as well as fans of metal in general. It’s refreshing that the vocals are counterbalanced between the clean and haunting melodies of an operatic female singer and the rough growl of a male vocalist and although they may not be the first band to take this approach, unlike Lacuna Coil both vocalists in Trail of Tears can actually sing.

Best Track – ‘Bloodstained Endurance

Review by: Adam G


1. Feverish Alliance
2. Once Kissed Bt The Serpent (Twice Bitten By Truth)
3. Bloodstained Endurance
4. Triumphant Gleam 5. In The Valley Of Ashes
6. Storm At Will
7. Take Aim Reclaim Prevail
8. Desperation Corridors
9. Farewell To Sanity
10. Dead End Gaze
11. Faith Comes Knocking



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