Tristania was a Gothic Metal band from Norway that was active from 1995-2022, and often considered one of the pioneers of the genre. The band was formed in 1995 by Morten Veland, Einar Moen and Kenneth Ølsson, with Anders Høyvik Hidle and Rune Østerhus joining shortly afterwards. Vibeke Stene was initially recruited as a guest singer for the demo recording, but she later joined as a regular member. During the summer of 1997 different labels showed interest in the demo. Tristania signed with Napalm Records and released their first EP, Tristania.
Tristania's first full length album: Widow's Weeds, was recorded at the end of 1997 and released early 1998. The album is Gothic Metal with elements from a large variety of genres including Symphonic Metal, Death Metal, Classical Music, and Black Metal.
The band's second full length album: Beyond the Veil, was released in 1999. In December 2000 Veland and the rest of the band agreed on going separate ways, due to musical and personal differences. World of Glass was released in September 2001, with guest contributions from Ronny Thorsen, Pete Johansen, and Jan Kenneth Barkved. Østen Bergøy, who did guest vocals on the previous albums, became a full time member at this point. The album added Classical and Industrial Metal elements to Tristania's sound, and included the band's only cover version: "The Modern End," originally by Seigmen. "Ashes" was released on SPV / Steamhammer Records in February 2005 and featured a stripped down sound that de-emphasized the classical and operatic elements of the previous albums.
Tristania's fifth album: Illumination, was released in January 2007, with touring guitarist Svein Terje Solvang added as an official member. Vorph of Samael appeared as a guest singer and a string quartet appeared on several songs. Shortly after the release of the album, Vibeke Stene suddenly decided to quit her musical career in order to focus on family and her work as a teacher. After holding auditions for a singer with a voice different than Stene's, Tristania recruited singer Mariangela Demurtas from Sardinia, Italy, who officially joined the band in October 2007.
Østerhus and Solvang both quit the band in 2008. Ole Vistnes joined as the new bassist and Gyri Losnegaard later joined as second guitarist. The new line-up featuring Demurtas on vocals debuted on 29 February 2008 at a festival appearance in Kiev, Ukraine. The next member to depart was drummer Kenneth Ølsson, who was replaced by Tarald Lie; while singer Østen Bergøy scaled back to part time status with the band due to family commitments. Kjetil Nordhus was added to the lineup on clean vocals. The band's sixth album: Rubicon, was released on 25 August 2010.
The demo for the seventh album that gave birth to the final version of the songs in Darkest White were produced between June and September 2012. Soon after, the band re-adjusted the songs by themselves, in an improvised studio at Ole Vistnes' apartment, between September and December 2012. On January 2013, the band entered the studio to make the definitive recordings of the album, finishing in less than a month, the band's shortest recording period so far, and released the album in May 2013. The album was critically well received, and often considered the "real comeback" for the band after Vibeke Stene's departure.
On September 17, 2022 the band announced via social media that they would be disbanding due to "a serious medical situation in near family within the band, which will make it impossible to pursue both short and long-term plans with the band". Mariangela shared the post via her social media as well, writing "I am not coming with good news today unfortunately I will spend some more words on this matter later.. excuse me for now, but this is not an easy post to make".
- Anders Høyvik Hidle Guitars (19952022) / Harsh Vocals (20062022)
- Einar Moen Synth, programming (19952022)
- Mariangela Demurtas Vocals (20072022)
- Gyri Smørdal Losnegaard Guitars (20092022)
- Ole Vistnes Bass, backing vocals (20092022)
- Tarald Lie Jr. Drums (20102022)
- Kjetil Nordhus Vocals, acoustic guitars (20102022)
Notable Past Members:
- Morten Veland Harsh vocals, guitars (19952000)
- Vibeke Stene Vocals (19972007)
- Kjetil Ingebrethsen - Harsh vocals, guitars (2002-2006)
- Østen Bergøy Vocals (20012010)
- Widow's Weeds (1998)
- Beyond the Veil (1999)
- World of Glass (2001)
- Ashes (2005)
- Illumination (2007)
- Rubicon (2010)
- Darkest White (2013)
This band displays the examples of these tropes:
- Costume Porn: Vibeke and Mariangela wear some truly beautiful outfits live.
- Cover Version: "The Modern End" by Seigmen.
- Darker and Edgier: Ashes lyrically and musically, with the harsh vocals having a bigger role and the symphonic elements of the previous albums almost entirely gone.
- Despair Event Horizon: A common lyrical theme.
- Epic Rocking: A lot of their earlier songs are quite long, usually about 7 to 8 minutes, with "Midwintertears" being the longest at 8:32.
- Genre-Busting: No one seems to agree on what genre they fit into — variations on Gothic Metal, Symphonic Metal, and Death / Doom seem to be the most common classifications for their music but they also have elements of Black Metal, Industrial Metal, and Alternative Metal.
- Gothic Metal: The poster band for the Norwegian Gothic Metal scene.
- Harsh Vocals: Generally range between blackened screams or higher pitched growls.
- Lighter and Softer: Illumination, particularly musically.
- Male Band, Female Singer: Only up until Illumination, where it was Vibeke and up to six men. Not too long after Mariangela started, Gyri joined as a second guitarist and it's been Two Girls to a Team ever since.
- New Sound Album:
- World of Glass gave a more modern spin to their earlier gothic metal sound, introducing copious amounts of electronica, which it mixed artfully with classical elements such as choirs and violins.
- Ashes dialed back the symphonic elements dramatically and removed choirs altogether. Vibeke did not use her classical register as much, and the songs were more vocal-driven and focused on the guitar, bass and percussion with only light keyboards.
- Illumination trimmed down the song times and focused on more melodic, verse-chorus structures. Growls were limited to only two or three songs, depending on the version.
- Rubicon and Darkest White have quite a different lineup from the prior albums, and they take more of a modern Heavy Metal approach with some punk elements. The Vocal Tag Team aspect was played with more, with anywhere from one to four singers on any given song.
- One-Word Title: Especially common from Ashes onward. Ashes only has "The Wretched" (and bonus track "The Gate") as exceptions, and Darkest White only has exceptions in the title track and "Night on Earth."
- Religion Rant Song: Quite a few, the most blatant being "Sacrilege," "Illumination," and "Cathedral."
- Revolving Door Band: To the point where only two members that founded the band are still around.
- Soprano and Gravel: Vibeke and Mariangela (Soprano), Morten, Kjetil Ingebrethsen and Anders (Harsh), and Østen and Kjetil Nordhus (Tenor).
- Special Guest: Harsh vocals for two of their albums. Ronny Thorsen of Trail Of Tears performs on World of Glass, and Vorph of Samael provides the growls for Illumination.
- Start My Own: Morten Veland left due to musical and personal differences and went on to form Sirenia.
- Token Minority: Mariangela Demurtas is from Italy.
- Vocal Dissonance: Kjetil Nordhus is the one that does the clean vocals. The younger and smaller man, Anders does the harsh vocals. It'd look like it'd be the other way around.
- Vocal Tag Team: Played with. The earlier albums balanced the dynamics more evenly, but from World of Glass onward there is usually at least one song where not all the singers are featured. "Cypher," for example, is Kjetil Nordhus only (and made its live debut at Metal Female Voices Fest).