ReviewsTrail Of Tears – Winds of Disdain (The Circle Music)

Trail Of Tears – Winds of Disdain (The Circle Music)

It’s been a long, arduous return for Norwegian gothic/symphonic metal pioneers Trail of Tears. Probably best known for their discography in the 2000’s on Napalm Records, they would break up in 2013 following their seventh album Oscillation. Announcing their reformation in 2020, the pandemic halted any forward momentum, yet allowed the quintet a chance to evolve at their own pace. Greek label The Circle Music signed the group, who will re-release the older efforts as well as new material, the first product of the deal being this latest EP Winds of Disdain. Long standing members vocalist Ronny Thorsen, guitarist Runar Hansen, and bassist Endre Moe are joined by ex-Sirenia singer Ailyn Giménez Garcia and second guitarist/programmer Nicolay Jørni Johnsen, and the results prove the band step into the scene invigorated to reclaim their creative multi-pronged presence as artists.

The lower tuned guitar action right away on the title track opens up horizons for the dual growl/operatic vocal employment between the gruffer Ronny and serene Ailyn, which allows the cascading atmosphere to volley between darker symphonic / gothic angles with a steady staccato-laden, modern groove component lurking underneath the arrangement. Acoustic guitars along with softer keyboard swirls gives way into a more traditional electric movement to make “Take These Tears” as the most obvious, commercial-oriented effort. The chorus pulsates next to some fascinating choir aspects as well as stop/start drum programming/crunchy jackhammer riff sequences, Ailyn taking on upper echelon melodies in highlight registers – while the closing lead break possesses the right cultural / circular note choices that could stay cemented in your frontal lobe for weeks on end. “No Colors Left” has the most progressive, heavier shifts – the growls/bellows sinister, the dual guitar work driving home the aggressive atmosphere while Ailyn’s clean parts offer the beautiful contrast to keep everyone dynamically engaged. Before we know it “Blood Red Halo” finishes things off – more stunted, low-tuned riffs set about in pit-swirling madness before the arrangement shifts again into operatic, serene glory, building to this fantastic symphonic metal payoff.

Next time around, this scribe would prefer a human drummer executing these parts in the studio (the programming lacks a bit of personal touch) – but that’s a minor quibble in an otherwise ideal return for Trail of Tears eleven years after their last record. Winds of Disdain proves the band can expand into versatile horizons as well as keep their gothic/symphonic metal style front and center – the next studio album can’t come soon enough.

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