Artist: Tristania 
   Title: Rubicon
   Label: Nuclear Blast

'Rubicon' is the sixth studio release from Gothic Metallers Tristania.  The band have gone through some changes in the three years since the release of their ‘Illumination’ album, including bringing in a new vocalist in the shape of Mariangela Demurtas from Sardinia.  The band have also brought in Ole Vistnes to the fold as a permanent member of the band, after previously featuring as a session musician.  Also on the vocal front we see Østens Bergøy has now been replaced by Kjetil Nordhus, after Bergøy’s parental responsibilities became too much and prevented them from fully committing to the band.  Gyri S. Losnegaard has also taken over the role of second guitarist.  Shortly after it soon became evident that session drummer Tarald Lie would follow Vistnes’ example and also became a permanent band member.

In their present form, Tristania still makes use of those distinct male/female vocal duels between Demurtas and Nordhus, a style which continues to be a dominant feature in the bands overall sound.

The album opens up with ‘Year Of The Rat’ and I can say without any hesitation that fans will instantly fall in love with Demurtas’s vocals as she brings a great talent to the band, this combined with Nordhus unique vocals bring a whole new and welcome chapter to the Tristania story.

The album continues with ‘Protection’, a more epic opus that just explodes from the off, with a towering vocal from Demurtas and a haunting melody from the rest of the band. The album bursts into live with the excellent ‘Patriot Games’, this is where Nordhus unleashes that fantastic vocal of his as he duets with Demurtas on this Gothic Metal masterpiece.

The tempo is brought back down a notch or two with another haunting melody ‘The Passing’, before being picked right back up again with the stunning ‘Exile’.  If the mighty Jethro Tull ever did Goth then I'm positive this is what it would sound like!

Any Gothic Metal album wouldn’t be complete without a few darker moments and this album is no different as the band unleash ‘Sirens’.  This is typical dark and light vocals that have become an integral part of Tristania’s sound.

Another dark monster of a track is ‘Vulture’ with Nordhus at his dark best, before the mood is switched to film score epic with ‘Amnesia’, an absolutely massive track that highlights perfectly the duetting of Nordhus and Demurtas.  The added bonus of the string sections courtesy of Pete Johansen go even further to fill the track with an eerie underworld atmosphere that chills you to the very bones.

Speaking of epics ‘Magical Fix’ brings up the tempo again while still retaining that very dark vibe, while adding a little of the Sisters Of Mercy feel to the proceedings.  This track is both dark and rocky all at the same time.

The album closes off in fine style with the eight minute plus masterpiece ‘Illumination’.  As one of the most anticipated albums of the genre, the fans will just love this new chapter in the bands life and I’m sure will flock to the shows the band have planned for October this year.

1.  Year Of The Rat
2. Protection
3. Patriot Games
4. The Passing
5. Exile
6. Sirens
7. The Emerald Piper (Bonus Track)
8. Vulture
9. Amnesia
10. Magical Fix
11. Illumination



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