Theatre of Tragedy

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Theatre of Tragedy
Theatre of Tragedy.jpg
Theatre of Tragedy at Teatro Teletón, Santiago, Chile, 2010.
Background information
Origin Stavanger, Norway
Genres
Years active1993–2010
Labels AFM / Candlelight (2006–10)
Nuclear Blast (2000–05)
Massacre/Century Media (1995–99)
Website Official site
Past membersRaymond Rohonyi
Tommy Lindal
Pål Bjåstad
Hein Frode Hansen
Eirik T. Saltrø
Lorentz Aspen
Liv Kristine
Geir Flikkeid
Frank Claussen
Tommy Olsson
Vegard K. Thorsen
Nell Sigland

Theatre of Tragedy was a Norwegian band from Stavanger, active between 1993 and 2010. They are best known for their earlier albums, which influenced the gothic metal genre.

Norway constitutional monarchy in Northern Europe

Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic country in Northwestern Europe whose territory comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula; the remote island of Jan Mayen and the archipelago of Svalbard are also part of the Kingdom of Norway. The Antarctic Peter I Island and the sub-Antarctic Bouvet Island are dependent territories and thus not considered part of the kingdom. Norway also lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land.

Stavanger Municipality in Norway

Stavanger is a city and municipality in Norway. It is the third largest city and metropolitan area in Norway and the administrative centre of Rogaland county. The municipality is the fourth most populous in Norway. Located on the Stavanger Peninsula in Southwest Norway, Stavanger counts its official founding year as 1125, the year the Stavanger Cathedral was completed. Stavanger's core is to a large degree 18th- and 19th-century wooden houses that are protected and considered part of the city's cultural heritage. This has caused the town centre and inner city to retain a small-town character with an unusually high ratio of detached houses, and has contributed significantly to spreading the city's population growth to outlying parts of Greater Stavanger.

Gothic metal is a fusion genre combining the heaviness of heavy metal with the dark atmospheres of gothic rock. The music of gothic metal is diverse with bands known to adopt the gothic approach to different styles of heavy metal music. The genre originated during the early 1990s in the United Kingdom originally as an outgrowth of death-doom, a fusion of death metal and doom metal. Lyrics are generally dark and introspective with inspiration from gothic fiction as well as personal experiences.

Contents

Biography

Formation (1993)

Theatre of Tragedy was founded on 2 October 1993 by vocalist Raymond István Rohonyi, guitarists Pål Bjåstad and Tommy Lindal. Drummer Hein Frode Hansen had recently quit his former band Phobia and started looking for a new musical project to play in. A friend of his told Hein that a band called Suffering Grief was looking for a new drummer, and after contacting them, he joined the band. At the time, Suffering Grief was composed of vocalist Raymond István Rohonyi and guitarists Pål Bjåstad and Tommy Lindal. No bassist had joined the band yet, but Eirik T. Saltrø had agreed to play with them in live concerts.

Hein Frode Hansen is a Norwegian heavy metal drummer. He was the original vocalist of the power metal band Serpent, formed in 1989. In 1990 he started playing drums in the death metal band Phobia. Both bands broke up in 1991. From 1993-2010 he played in Theatre of Tragedy, and with them released seven studio albums, two live albums and several studio EP's. Hansen has started a new project with Kristian Sigland, called The Black Locust Project.

After finding a rehearsal place, the band decided to work upon a couple of piano arrangements composed by Lorentz Aspen. The vocals, at the time, were almost entirely composed of raw death grunts.

Piano musical instrument

The piano is an acoustic, stringed musical instrument invented in Italy by Bartolomeo Cristofori around the year 1700, in which the strings are struck by hammers. It is played using a keyboard, which is a row of keys that the performer presses down or strikes with the fingers and thumbs of both hands to cause the hammers to strike the strings.

Lorentz Aspen is a Norwegian heavy metal pianist and keyboardist. He played in Theatre of Tragedy from 2 October 1993 to 2 October 2010 and with them he released seven studio albums, one live album and five EP's. He also played in Imperium as an additional musician, and he played the hammond organ on Therion's Vovin.

After composing their first song, "Lament of the Perishing Roses", the band changed its name to La Reine Noir and then to Theatre of Tragedy. They subsequently invited singer Liv Kristine Espenæs - Rohonyi's then girlfriend [1] - to do female vocals for one song, but quickly invited her to join the band permanently.

First five albums (1994–2002)

Liv Kristine was the lead singer of Theatre of Tragedy from their formation in 1993 to 2003. Livtot3.jpg
Liv Kristine was the lead singer of Theatre of Tragedy from their formation in 1993 to 2003.

In 1994, their first studio demo was recorded, and in 1995, the debut album Theatre of Tragedy was released, followed by Velvet Darkness They Fear in 1996 and the A Rose for the Dead EP in 1997, which contained unreleased material from Velvet Darkness They Fear. Arguably, the band reached the apogee of its career in 1998, with the release of the critically acclaimed album Aégis .

Demo (music) song or group of songs recorded for limited circulation or reference use rather than for general public release

A demo is a song or group of songs recorded for limited circulation or reference use rather than for general public release. A demo is a way for a musician to approximate their ideas in a fixed format, such as cassette tape, compact disc, or digital audio files, and to thereby pass along those ideas to record labels, record producers, or to other artists.

<i>Theatre of Tragedy</i> (album) album by Theatre of Tragedy

Theatre of Tragedy is the first studio album by the Norwegian gothic metal band Theatre of Tragedy. The album was issued in the US by Century Media Records in 1998.

<i>Velvet Darkness They Fear</i> album by Theatre of Tragedy

Velvet Darkness They Fear is the second studio album by the Norwegian gothic metal band Theatre of Tragedy. It was released in 1996 by Massacre Records. The album was issued in the US by Century Media Records in 1997.

Released in 2000, Musique was a massive departure from the gothic metal sound that Theatre of Tragedy had developed over the previous three albums. The heavy guitars and Early Modern English lyrics were replaced by electropop and industrial-influenced metal. It was met with a very mixed reception, and while some older fans were understandably shocked by the new direction of the band, it did gain them a number of new fans.

Early Modern English, Early New English is the stage of the English language from the beginning of the Tudor period to the English Interregnum and Restoration, or from the transition from Middle English, in the late 15th century, to the transition to Modern English, in the mid-to-late 17th century.

Electropop is a variant of synth-pop that places more emphasis on a harder, electronic sound. The genre has seen a revival of popularity and influence since the 2000s.

Industrial music is a genre of experimental music which draws on harsh, transgressive or provocative sounds and themes. AllMusic defines industrial music as the "most abrasive and aggressive fusion of rock and electronic music" that was "initially a blend of avant-garde electronics experiments and punk provocation". The term was coined in the mid-1970s with the founding of Industrial Records by members of Throbbing Gristle and Monte Cazazza. While the genre name originated with Throbbing Gristle's emergence in the United Kingdom, concentrations of artists and labels vital to the genre also emerged in Chicago.

With 2002's Assembly , the band continued along the same musical path as on their previous album. It was seen as a more refined and confident electropop record than its predecessor. It was also the first album to feature their long-time session guitarist, Vegard K. Thorsen, as a full member of the band.

Departure of Liv Kristine and Storm (2003–2007)

In August 2003, the band declared in an official statement [2] on their website that Liv Kristine was removed from the band's line-up due to "musical differences which could not be bridged".

Female singer Nell Sigland (from The Crest) joined Theatre of Tragedy on the following year. In winter 2004/2005, the band performed a short concert tour (together with Pain, Sirenia, and Tiamat) with Sigland singing.

The band released their sixth studio album Storm on 24 March 2006, and a European tour followed, with Gothminister as supporting act. The album's title song was released as a single on 24 February 2006. While still keeping on the industrial and electronic roots of the last two albums, the album showed a return to some of the sounds developed in their first albums.

Forever Is the World (2008–2009)

On 2 October 2008, Theatre of Tragedy celebrated their 15th anniversary. In December 2008 the band posted a snippet of new track "Frozen," which was expected to be on the new album, on their MySpace music page:

"Time for some updates. Things are slowly moving forward with the next album. As usual with the Theatre machinery there is many things [ sic ] to take into consideration when doing stuff and recently we were forced to change collaborators for the production of the album, and postpone the recordings. But fear not the heavy responsibility has been entrusted to Alexander Møklebust (Zeromancer, Seigmen, Gåte, Monomen, Delaware etc) and the ToT crew will enter Room 13 in May and June for recordings and general mayhem! Estimated release from AFM is end of September. Rumor has it that there will be a vinyl version for the diehard fans. We will keep you posted."

In June 2009 saw the band reveal Forever Is the World as the title of the new album. Their 7th album was released in Europe on 21 September 2009, with the band making a step towards their earlier sound of Aégis. A special tour edition of Forever Is the World was issued on 12 March 2010. The tour edition contained a bonus CD known as the Addenda EP, which contains song reworkings and unreleased tracks.

Metal Mind Productions issued a press release in July stating that they were, with the co-operation of the band, re-releasing Musique and Assembly . Both albums have been remastered and will be backed with bonus tracks. New liner notes and artwork are said to be a part of the package. Each album is limited to 2000 numbered copies. [3]

Breakup and aftermath (2010–present)

On 1 March 2010, Theatre of Tragedy issued a statement informing fans of their decision to split on 2 October 2010. The statement cited personal desires to spend more time with family and an inability to juggle their everyday working lives with a "rock and roll" lifestyle. [4] On 12 March, Theatre of Tragedy kicked off their farewell tour, "Forever is the World Tour". The Norwegian symphonic goth metal band Where Angels Fall opened for them on the European part of the tour. In September, fans helped the band to secure funds to finish their first and last DVD by making donations when the label pulled out most of the funding for the production. [5] The result was Last Curtain Call, a concert film from their very last show on 2 October 2010 in their hometown Stavanger.

On 5 July 2013, the band's first three albums were re-released and remastered. [6]

In December 2015, Liv Kristine did a tour across Germany, Belgium, Russia, Poland, Netherlands, and United Kingdom, with her own solo project. She performed songs from her solo project and from Theatre of Tragedy like she usually does in solo concerts. Moreover, Raymond István Rohonyi joined her on this tour. She also played at the Metal Female Voices Fest XIII on 23 October 2016 alongside with Raymond. They also played a few songs of Theatre of Tragedy like they did in December 2015. The band members have stated, however, that there are no plans for a Theatre of Tragedy reunion, explaining that it is "as likely as a Doors reunion with the original lineup. No one has been approached or not approached." [7]

Musical style

The band made use of contrasting vocals – male bass vocals (making some use of death grunts) and female soprano singing (commonly referred to as "Beauty and the Beast" vocals) – and on their first three albums, presented lyrics written predominantly in Early Modern English. Starting from the album Musique , however, Theatre of Tragedy made drastic changes to its style, which became significantly inspired by the industrial rock genre, abandoning Early Modern English writing and death grunts in the process. On their two last releases, Storm and Forever Is The World , the band returned to a more classic gothic rock/metal sound.

Members

Timeline

Theatre of Tragedy

Discography

Studio albums

TitleAlbum detailsPeak chart positions
GER
[8]
Theatre of Tragedy
  • Released: 4 July 1995
  • Label: Massacre Records
  • Formats: CD, CS, LP, digital download [9]
Velvet Darkness They Fear
  • Released: 26 August 1996
  • Label: Massacre Records
  • Formats: CD, CS, LP, digital download [10]
Aégis
  • Released: 18 August 1998
  • Label: Massacre Records
  • Formats: CD, CS, LP, digital download [11]
40
Musique
  • Released: 2 October 2000
  • Label: Nuclear Blast
  • Formats: CD, CS, digital download [12]
39
Assembly
  • Released: 4 March 2002
  • Label: Nuclear Blast
  • Formats: CD, CS, digital download [13]
75
Storm
  • Released: 24 March 2006
  • Label: AFM Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download [14]
Forever Is the World
  • Released: 18 September 2009
  • Label: AFM Records
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download [15]
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Live albums

TitleAlbum details
closure:live
  • Released: 28 May 2001
  • Label: Massacre Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download [16]
Last Curtain Call
  • Released: 20 May 2011
  • Label: AFM Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download [17]

DVDs

TitleAlbum details
Last Curtain Call
  • Released: 20 May 2011
  • Label: AFM Records
  • Formats: DVD

EPs

TitleAlbum details
Der Tanz der Schatten
  • Released: 16 September 1996
  • Label: Massacre Records
  • Formats: CD
A Rose for the Dead
  • Released: 1 April 1997
  • Label: Massacre Records
  • Formats: CD, CS, digital download [18]
Virago
  • Released: 26 May 1999
  • Label: Massacre Records
  • Formats: CD
Inperspective
  • Released: 4 December 2000
  • Label: Massacre Records
  • Formats: CD, CS, digital download [19]
Machine
  • Released: 22 January 2001
  • Label: Nuclear Blast
  • Formats: CD, digital download [20]
Storm
  • Released: 24 February 2006
  • Label: AFM Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download [21]
Addenda
  • Released: 12 March 2010
  • Label: AFM Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download [22]

Singles

TitleYearAlbum
"Cassandra"1998Aégis
"Image"2000Musique
"Let You Down"2002Assembly
"Storm"2006Storm
"Deadland" [23] 2009Forever Is the World

Related Research Articles

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Leaves' Eyes is a German symphonic metal band from Germany and Norway. They were formed in 2003 by Liv Kristine, the former lead singer of Theatre of Tragedy and the entire line-up of Atrocity. To date, the band has released seven studio albums, a single, six EPs, one live album and a DVD.

Nick Holmes (singer) British singer

Nicholas John Arthur Holmes is a musician from Halifax, West Yorkshire, best known as the lead vocalist of British gothic metal/doom metal band Paradise Lost and Swedish death metal band Bloodbath.

Liv Kristine Norwegian singer

Liv Kristine Espenæs, better known as Liv Kristine, is a Norwegian singer-songwriter who has performed and composed songs mostly for various subgenres of heavy metal music. She started her career in the music industry as a vocalist for the gothic metal band Theatre of Tragedy, and is the former lead vocalist for the symphonic metal band Leaves' Eyes. She is known for her work in close association with her then-husband and leader of the German band Atrocity, Alexander Krull. Currently she is a singer of a German band Midnattsol alongside her younger sister Carmen Elise Espenæs.

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Atrocity is a German heavy metal band from Ludwigsburg that formed in 1985.

<i>Aégis</i> (album) album of Norwegian metal band Theatre of Tragedy

Aégis is the third studio album by Norwegian gothic metal band Theatre of Tragedy, and the last album of their musical period defined by gothic stylings and Early Modern English lyrics.

<i>Musique</i> (Theatre of Tragedy album) album by Theatre of Tragedy

Musique is the fourth studio album by the Norwegian metal band Theatre of Tragedy, released in 2000. The title on the album's cover,, is the pronunciation of the English word "music" transcribed in the International Phonetic Alphabet.

<i>Assembly</i> (Theatre of Tragedy album) album by Theatre of Tragedy

Assembly is the fifth studio album by the Norwegian metal band Theatre of Tragedy, released in 2002. It continued the group's move from gothic to a more electronic and pop style of music. This style was described as similar to "Siouxsie and the Banshees jamming with Ace of Base".

<i>Storm</i> (Theatre of Tragedy album) 2006 studio album by Theatre of Tragedy

Storm is the sixth studio album by the Norwegian gothic metal band Theatre of Tragedy, released in March 2006. It is the band's first album with a new lead singer Nell Sigland. The song "Storm" was released as the album's only single. The album shows something of a return to gothic metal, although its sound is much lighter and more upbeat than that of earlier albums and it still uses modern English lyrics. The band embarked on a European tour to support the release.

Delain band

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<i>Elegy</i> (EP) 2005 EP by Leaves Eyes

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Nell Sigland Norwegian singer

Ragnhild Westgaard Sigland, mostly known by her stage name Nell Sigland, is a Norwegian singer from Hamar, best known as the lead vocalist of Norwegian gothic metal band Theatre of Tragedy as a replacement for Liv Kristine, from June 3, 2004 to October 2, 2010. She was also the lead singer for Norwegian gothic rock band The Crest, founded by her husband Kristian Sigland and herself.

<i>A Rose for the Dead</i> 1997 EP by Theatre of Tragedy

A Rose for the Dead is an EP released by the Norwegian gothic metal band Theatre of Tragedy in 1997. It was the band's last release using the doom metal-influenced sound that Theatre of Tragedy had originally adopted. "A Rose for the Dead" and "Der Spiegel" are leftovers from the Velvet Darkness They Fear recording sessions, which were completed after the release of that album. "As the Shadows Dance" is the English-sung version of the single "Der Tanz der Schatten", while the remixes involved the electro-industrial musician Bruno Kramm of the German duo Das Ich. Finally, "Decades" is a cover version of a Joy Division song, which Theatre of Tragedy had recorded for a Norwegian tribute album.

<i>Closure: Live</i> 2001 live album by Theatre of Tragedy

Closure: Live is a 2001 album by the Norwegian gothic metal band Theatre of Tragedy. Recorded live at the Metal festival in Katowice 2000, the CD has ten audio tracks and, on special editions, two multimedia video tracks.

<i>Forever Is the World</i> 2009 studio album by Theatre of Tragedy

Forever Is the World is the seventh and final studio album by the Norwegian gothic metal band Theatre of Tragedy. It was released on 18 September 2009, on AFM Records. The album was produced by the Zeromancer singer Alexander Møklebust and mastered by Bjørn Engelmann.

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