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NORWAY, Stavanger

Date Formed 1993

Categories: Gothic Metal

THEATRE OF TRAGEDY

Current Members

Past Members

Studio Session Members

Biography

Frontrunners in the field of Euro Gothic Metal, THEATRE OF TRAGEDY, hailing from Royneberg, Stavanger, made a big impression on the German Rock conscious led by the vocal delivery of guttural Death Metal growls of Raymond István Rohonyi juxtaposed with the dynamic clarity of soprano LIV KRISTINE. Albums are characterised by attention to meticulous detail. In more recent years THEATRE OF TRAGEDY has shed their Gothic skin and successfully transported their fan base into more industrial landscapes. The band catalyst was drummer Hein Frode Hansen, previously a member of PHOBIA, an act that included pre-ENSLAVED personnel vocalist Grutle Kjellson and guitarist Ivar Bjornson.

Hansen together with vocalist Raymond I. Rohonyi, guitar players Pål Bjåstad and Tommy Lindal, PAINTHEAD bassist Eirik T. Saltrø and fifteen year old keyboard player Lorentz Aspen gelled together to create SUFFERING GRIEF in October of 1993. Although fronted by the Death Metal grunts of Rohonyi the band even at this formative stage were endeavouring to branch out into more atmospheric material. Evidence of this was displayed early on with Rohonyi's use of old English lyrical script evoking Shakespearian charm. Having constructed their first composition, 'Lament Of The Perishing Roses', the band would operate as LA REINE NOIR for a matter of days before setting on the title THEATRE OF TRAGEDY in April of 1994.

The same year THEATRE OF TRAGEDY added female vocalist LIV KRISTINE (Liv Kristine Espenæs) and unleashed a debut, four song demo tape in May that immediately scored a deal with the German Massacre label and December found the group in Unisound Studios with EDGE OF SANITY's Dan Swanö.

The group debuted in July 1995 with the self-titled album, this embellished by the mournful cello work of Anders Måreby. THEATRE OF TRAGEDY hit the road with ATROCITY but lost the services of Pål Bjåstad, enrolling Geir Flikkeid as replacement. Working at Commusication Studios in Frankenthal during July 1996 the group cut their second record, 'Velvet Darkness They Fear', with Peter Coleman. The Moscow based Nedeltcho Boiadjiev string quartet play on four songs. The album, released in September 1996, promptly sold over 40'000 copies. Unfortunately, following the completion of the record guitarist Tommy Lindal suffered a stroke. He was replaced for the ensuing European tour with a substitute.

Touring to promote the record saw further dates with ATROCITY and inclusion on the billing of the 'Out Of The Dark' touring festival alongside GOREFEST, SAMAEL and MOONSPELL in September 1996. The band undertook a further European tour in April 1997 with HEAVENWOOD and LAKE OF TEARS to promote the mini-album 'A Rose For The Dead'. The record contained a cover version of JOY DIVISION's 'Decades' and remixs by industrialists DAS ICH of 'And When He Falleth' and 'Black As The Devil Painteth'. Another flux in membership then saw Geir Flikkeid taking his leave.

LIV KRISTINE issued solo work, the 'Deus Ex Machina' album, during a lull before 1998's 'Aégis' album. This opus, stripped of guitar harshness, would ambitiously find the band venturing into fresh musical territory. In a conceptual work dedicated to mythological female beauty, Rohonyi tempered his vocal considerably, only utilising his trademark malevolence for the song 'Venus', whilst Liv Kristine Espenæs made full use of her expansive and emotive range throughout. This near flawless execution prompted many European critics to award 'Aégis' perfect review scores. Featured would be ELUSIVE and NEW BREED guitarist Kristian Gundersen and second six-stringer Tommy Olsson, of MORENDOES and also a member of ELUSIVE. THEATRE OF TRAGEDY drafted new guitarist Frank Claussen, previously with Thrashers MALPRACTICE, for this album which broke the band scoring chart success in both Germany and Holland. Digipack variants added bonus track 'Samantha'.

The band signed to major label East West for October 2000's '[mju:z?k]' album, shedding two members in the process, guitarist Tommy Olsen and bassist Eirik T. Saltrø. Guitarist Erik André Rydningen stepped in for recording, THEATRE OF TRAGEDY constructing the album with producer Erik Ljunggren at two studios, Soundsuite in Marseille and Lydlab in Oslo.

THEATRE OF TRAGEDY took on a whole new guise for '[mju:zik]', jumping brazenly into Techno-Pop. The fresh direction made inroads into the Pop and Dark Wave club markets but froze out many longstanding fans. A subsequent tour generated tapes from the Polish 'Metal Mania' festival in Katowice appearance to the 'Closure: Live' opus. In January 2001 session guitarist Vegard K. Thorsen was granted permanent membership.

THEATRE OF TRAGEDY would spend the latter half of 2001 in Finland, located at Karillo Studios in Porvoo and MD Studios in Helsinki, recording their 'Assembly' album in collaboration with producer Hiili Hiilesmaa, also cutting a version of the VANILLA FUDGE staple 'You Keep Me Hangin' On'. The band would also induct Vegard K. Thorsen on guitar. An EP entitled 'Let You Down', would be scheduled for solely Norwegian release in 2002 comprising of the title track, 'You Keep Me Hangin' On' and special remixes of 'Let You Down', 'Universal Race', and 'Envision'.

July of 2003 bore witness to some high profile Rock n' Roll wedding bells as Liv Kristine Espenæs married ATROCITY's Alexander Krull. This marital union spilled over into a creative force with the announcement of a brand new band LEAVES' EYES, seeing Liv Kristine Espenæs-Krull and Alexander Krull founding a fresh venture with members of ATROCITY. Just days after this announcement it was learned that the singer had in fact quit THEATRE OF TRAGEDY. The remaining band members vowed to carry on.

In late December the band teased fans with photos placed on their official website from rehearsals with an unidentified dark haired singer which "may, or may not" be the new THEATRE OF TRAGEDY vocalist. Cryptically the one picture featuring the candidate, actually Nell of fellow Norwegian act THE CREST, only showed her from behind. The band maintained the secrecy into the following year, announcing that a 19th June show at the Checkpoint Charlie rock club in Stavanger would reveal her identity. The band reported a European road alliance with SIRENIA, TIAMAT and PAIN to take them through late 2004 and into 2005. That September, announcing an intended return to the band's formative a new label deal with AFM Records was unveiled and by early October the band was back in the studio with producer Rico Darum cutting a new album entitled 'Storm'. 2006 European shows saw GOTHMINISTER as support.

A headline appearance at the 'Metal Female Voices 4' festival in Wieze, Belgium on October 21st was cancelled when two band members fell ill.

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