Things that Come in Threes
Slavic quintet Tristana bills themselves as “alternative metal,” which may be fitting as it’s impossible to identify them as anything more specific. They have elements of arena rock, extreme metal and prog metal. On their third album in over a decade, Virtual Crime, they float in and out of these sub-genres, and sometimes the effect works and sometimes it does not.
The first sounds on Virtual Crime are electronic drums and keyboards producing an industrialized beat in “Resurrection.” The guitars and organic drums come in, and suddenly we have a different band. Peter Wilsen’s sinister yet melodic vocals sing a stanza and are interrupted by his own demonic growl. The chorus is so catchy it’s nearly glam-metal worthy. “Fallen,” the album’s first single, follows the same pattern – some synth sounds, then some metal instrumentation, a growling verse and a poppy chorus. “Wasted Time” changes things up a bit, beginning with drums and then bringing in the rest of the band. Here, the vocals are closer to pop-grunge than metal, but Wilsen still peppers in his screaming.
The heavy-handed keyboard on “Beg For Death” brings the prog/psych/synth-metal focus to the forefront. Again, Wilsen’s melodies are strong and hit the right notes, and one wonders: why add the “demon growl” at all. A female vocal opens “Jannie’s Dying,” and the interplay between her and Wilsen works well, giving some credence to the theatrical elements of Tristana.
If the “Tri” in “Tristana” means “three,” then they have done a good job meeting up to their name, dividing their perspective into thirds, but they have not been as successful at creating a cohesive and logical sound. Arena rock is so-named for a reason: it’s designed to fill arenas. If Tristana can focus more on that aspect — with its big choruses and fist-pumping chants — they may find the demand to meet the supply.