It is always sad to see, when pioneers of a style lose their own roots and with that most of their fans. THEATRE OF TRAGEDY surely are one of the best known examples for this, once re-defining the genre of Gothic Metal with the dual vocals and this special atmosphere and then getting lost almost completely in the world of electronics. The split of Liv Kristine Espenæs and the entry of THE CREST singer Nell Sigland then started rumours that they were working on a return to their older albums, which for one sparked hope and for the other also created quite some skepticism.
The title “Storm” gives hope and at the beginning of the opening title track Nell also sings “Can you see the storm getting closer now?”, the Norwegians are not able to conjure up a storm, though, but they definitely go back towards their earlier efforts, especially “Aégis”, not least due to the rocking guitars and also the fact that Raymond Rohonyi seems to have completely abdicated the gruff vocals, while rather concentrating on spoken styles as counterpart to Nell’s very nice, not too high voice, which is very well integrated into their sound. Another important factor is Lorentz Aspen’s piano play, which also conjures up memories of the past, mostly leaving out the electronic dabblings.
They overall roam between Gothic Rock and Metal, but do not manage to re-animate this dark atmosphere that had made the first three THEATRE OF TRAGEDY albums so special, but sounds a lot more mainstream-like. This will make it hard for them to really win over the old fans again, but it is an almost logical evolution for after “Aégis”, if you leave out “Musique” and “Assembly”. What most fans will have problems with are Raymond’s vocals, which often seem very cold and at times a bit distorted, as well as the fact that most songs are very smooth and do not have many hooks, so basically no track really stands out from this album.
Opener “Storm“, “Silence“, the quiet “Ashes And Dreams“ with its great melodies and the a bit more powerful “Begin & End“ are the best songs, but without having any high flyer. If they had given Nell a bit more room and Raymond in the end had really sung at least a bit, plus with a bit less sugar coating, then “Storm” might receive some more acceptance among the older fans, but it still is good to see that TOT seem to be on the right away again, yet it is not more than a nice album. (Online June 17, 2006)