When and how you discovered Tristania:
Nightwish had just snared me with their Oceanborn album. I was curious if their other album Angels Fall First held the same magic (it didn't), so I asked Napster for some Nightwish songs. It gave me "Nightwish - Heretique", wrong band but correct songtitle. I was understandably confused but loved the song, and when I eventually (after much digging) discovered who the band really was, I bought both their albums.
As this was my first growling experience, it was a bit intimidating at first. I quickly discovered Angellore, and skipped right to it whenever WW was in the player. After a while, My Lost Lenore got stuck too, then the rest of the album, and suddenly BtV went from being a massive wall of sound to this totally wonderful soundscape. I was in love!
I've sunk far down the heaviness mire since, now being really into black & death. The gothic vibe still enchants me, though, and in that realm Tristania are my undisputed kings.
Favorite Tristania album and why:
Very very difficult. I definitely love them all, without exception. As stated previously I'm very fond of the cliché-gothic vibe of their earlier work, but the latest albums are true masterpiece, full of diversity and innovation, yet still retaining that strangely wonderful Tristania magic.
...I'll have to go with Ashes
as my final answer, but it's a very close call.
Favorite Tristania song and why:
I'm sitting in a corner of a dungeon-like café in Gothenburg. I've just bought the newly released World of Glass, now lying on the table in front of me. For the longest time I'm just looking at it, honestly a bit scared to listen to it. How will they have fared without Mortens brilliant growls and intricate composing? I badly want to be able to love this album, but I'm really scared of being let down.
Eventually I've braced myself enough. I plug in the earphones, press play, and am completely blown away by The Shining Path
- what a masterpiece! Their heaviest delivery yet, and still somehow almost soothing in its melodies.
A very powerful memory, giving The Shining Path a special place in my heart.
NB: A few years later, I of course had a nearly identical experience with Ashes & Libre..
Reason(s) you love Tristania:
Well, they have it all, really. They use metal elements to great effects, but aren't afraid of venturing into "less cool" realms to complete their recipes. They are masters of contrast - not just the standard growl vs soprano (which they do better than most), but in every aspect of music, they play the full spectrum. On paper it all seems like a bad idea, but they pull it off so well it's really hard to find comparison. Added with the evolution and matureness on Ashes/Illumination, they are the most complete
band I know. A bland answer, but it's the best I can do.
Being a teacher of languages, I've had a hard time regarding Mortens shakesperian lyrics as anything but rather bland and not seldom pretty bad. They fill a function, of course, I have no trouble seeing that, but still, I would definitely give his poetry a rather low grade. The seemingly uninspired anti-religious theme of World of Glass also left me unimpressed.
I have no trouble with this, I've long come to accept that quality lyrics aren't to be expected in the metal realm. For example, one of my favourite death metal crews, Katatklysm, get away with lyrics like: "I manipulate your soul / deep inside the core / raping your existence / in darkness"..
So I learnt to decouple my teacher brain part and just enjoy the music. But then, after WoG, something happened! The writing on Ashes & Illumination has an entirely different quality to it, with depth and pure litterary quality, giving the music yet another dimension. Making Tristania more powerful still..
Have you ever seen Tristania live? If so, how was it?:
I've seen them twice
, both times absolutely wonderful.
Anecdote from my first time, Gothenburg 2005: I was, of course, much looking forward to seeing this mythical siren Vibeke live for the first time. Long dark hair, long black dress and that magical voice - how could experiencing her on stage be anything but nirvana?
And it was wonderful, of course. But, the biggest impression by far that night was left by Østen. What a presence he has! And what a voice! I dab in singing myself, and have from the beginning been impressed with his technique and the feelings he can conjure. Yet I was still unprepared when he stood there before me, weaving his web & making his magic. Wow!
Also, I learned in Oslo 2008 that Mary rocks, and everyone saying differently is plain wrong!
All this IMHO, of course, even if it's not so H.
Things you'd like to see [more of] in Tristania's music:
A very difficult question, given how complete their music is. Just look at Illumination - totally different servings, yet I fully agree with Anders when he writes about how they felt the songs formed a unity.
If I have to give an answer, I'd have to say I wouldn't mind more growls
, but it's not a major complaint.
Other favorite bands:
Tristanias gothic brothers-in-arms: Trail of Tears, early Theatre of Tragedy, Draconian, Sirenia. Everything and anything folk-metal: Eluveitie, Arkona, Siebenburgen, Fejd, Glittertind, Moonsorrow, Agalloth. Singer-songwriters: Cohen, Zelmani, Knopfler. Death: Kataklysm, Dark Tranquillity, Amon Amarth, Hypocrisy. Black: Dimmu, Cradle, etc...
Thanks so much for your time. =)
No problem! Sorry if I ever so slightly overstayed my welcome..