Trail of Tears is a Norwegian gothic/symphonic black metal band originally formed in 1994 by Terje Heiseldal, Kjell Rune Hagen, Jonathan A Perez, Michael Krumins, and Ronny Thorsen, under the name of Natt. Through most of their career the band emphasised the use of contrasting soprano and death grunt vocals, except for the release of Free Fall into Fear in 2005, in which the band switched this contrast mostly to tenor and growls, with less frequent soprano passages. The band disbanded in 2013, being succeeded by Thorsen's project Viper Solfa. In 2020, they reformed with old and new members, including previous Sirenia vocalist Ailyn.

Trail of Tears
Also known asNatt (1994–1997)
OriginKristiansand, Norway
GenresGothic metal, symphonic black metal
Years active1994–2013, 2020–present
LabelsMassacre, Napalm, The Circle Music
MembersRonny Thorsen
Runar Hansen
Jonathan Alejandro Pérez
Endre Moe
Nicolay "Jørni" Johnsen
Past members(See below)

History edit

Formation and Disclosure in Red (1994–2000) edit

Formed in 1994, the band's initial name was Natt; the band recorded a self-titled demo with that name. In 1997 their name was switched to Trail of Tears, in order to reflect the evolution of their sound and the changes that had been made from their initial line-up. The first demo the band recorded was When Silence Cries..., which contained three tracks and was released in April 1997. Guitarist Michael Krumins left the band and was replaced by Runar Hansen shortly thereafter.

The release of the demo lead the band to sign a contract for two albums with Dutch label DSFA Records. Their debut — Disclosure in Red — was released in that same year, and touring through Europe followed, alongside Tristania and The Sins of Thy Beloved.

Profoundemonium, A New Dimension of Might, and Free Fall into Fear (2000–2004) edit

Their second album, Profoundemonium, was released in 2000, and female vocalist Helena Iren Michaelsen left the band soon after, being replaced by Cathrine Paulsen in May of that year. The band proceeded to play in Europe several times during 2000. In the following year they signed a three-album deal with Napalm Records. Their third release, released in 2002, was entitled A New Dimension of Might and was produced by Terje Refsnes (producer of Tristania, Sirenia and Green Carnation).

2003 marked the band's first international concert, in Mexico. Female vocalist Catherine Paulsen left the band, and male vocalist Kjetil Nordhus (Green Carnation) joined Trail of Tears. This move prompted several changes in the band's sound, ultimately resulting in the 2004 album Free Fall into Fear, which was markedly heavier than their previous albums. A tour with Tristania and Therion followed the album's release.

Existentia and line-up changes (2004–2007) edit

Long term band members Terje Heiseldal and Frank Roald Hagen departed before the recording of the band's fifth album, with Gøran Bomann of Carpathian Forest standing in as a session live guitarist. The album was recorded as a five-piece with Runar Hansen recording all guitars and Bernt Moen being brought in as a guest musician to play keyboards.

Kjetil Nordhus, Runar Hansen, Kjell Rune Hagen, and Jonathan Perez walked out in November 2006 due to bad organisation leading to monetary loss for all the members of the band and posted a statement on the Trail of Tears' website saying the band had split up. Ronny Thorsen soon issued a statement saying they would in fact be carrying on without them and that they couldn't have chosen a worse time to leave the band due to the upcoming tour for the album Existentia. All tour dates had to be cancelled.

On 1 February 2007, it was stated that former Trail of Tears vocalist Cathrine Paulsen re-joined the band. The band was also confirmed for 2007's Sweden Rock Festival,[1] which was then followed with an extensive North American headlining tour alongside Echoes of Eternity and Unexpect.

Bloodstained Endurance (2008–2009) edit

The band entered Soundsuite Studio in Marseille, France with Terje Refsnes on 3 November 2008 to record their sixth studio album.[2] Since then, the band completed recording this album, titled Bloodstained Endurance. The album includes 11 songs and a limited edition album with an additional four or five bonus tracks will also be issued. The album was released on 27 May 2009.[3]

Oscillation, guitarist and drummer departure (2010–2012) edit

In July 2010, Trail of Tears announced that guitarist Pål Olsen has left the band due to lack of time and wanting to focus more on his band Guardians of Time. The band will continue as a quintet, and the departure, according to the band, will not affect the upcoming live activity or the progress of the upcoming album.[4]

In January 2012, Trail of Tears announced that long-time drummer Cato Jensen has parted ways with the band.[5] Bjørn Dugstad Rønnow later joined the band as the new drummer.

On 11 November 2012, the band revealed the cover artwork, made by Jan Yrlund, of their seventh full-length album Oscillation. In preparation for the release of Oscillation, the band signed to Massacre Records.[6] The album was released on 26 April 2013.

Breakup (2013) edit

In January 2013, Ronny Thorsen, Endre Moe, and Bjørn Dugstad Rønnow were announced to have left Trail of Tears. Thorsen has been reported as leaving the band, despite being the only constant member of Trail of Tears since its inception. The remaining members were initially reported to be Cathrine Paulsen and Bjørn Erik Næss; both parties split from one another on acrimonious grounds.[7] According to Thorsen's Facebook statements, Massacre Records gave full support to himself, Moe, and Rønnow, while Oscillation is the final Trail of Tears album.[8] Some months later in 2013, Thorsen, Moe and Rønnow, along with Miriam Renvåg "Sphinx" and Krister Dreyer "Morfeus", formed the band Viper Solfa.

Reformation and Winds of Disdain EP (2020–present) edit

In October 2020, the band announced that they have returned with new guitarist Nicolay "Jørni" Johnsen and ex-Sirenia vocalist Ailyn, and are planning both new music and anniversary shows where they will play older albums in their entirety.[9]

On January 10, 2024, the band announced they will release an EP, Winds of Disdain, on May 24 via The Circle Music.[10]

Members edit

  • Ronny Thorsen − vocals (1994–2013, 2020–present)
  • Runar Hansen − lead guitar (1997–2006, 2020–present)
  • Jonathan Alejandro Pérez − drums (1997–2006, 2020–present)
  • Endre Moe − bass (2007–2013, 2020–present)
  • Ailyn – soprano vocals (2020–present)
  • Nicolay "Jørni" Johnsen – rhythm guitar (2020–present)
Former members
  • Kjell Rune Hagen − bass (1994–2006)
  • Terje Heiseldal − rhythm guitar (1994–2004)
  • Ales Vik − soprano vocals (1994–1997)
  • Michael Krumins − lead guitar (1994–1997)
  • Vidar Uleberg − drums (1994–1996)
  • Frank Roald Hagen − synthesizers (1997–2006)
  • Helena Iren Michaelsen − soprano vocals (1997–2000)
  • Cathrine Paulsen − soprano vocals (2000–2004, 2007–2013)
  • Kjetil Nordhus − tenor vocals (2003–2006, previously a session member)
  • Bjørn Erik Næss − guitars (2007–2013)
  • Cato Jensen − drums (2007–2012)
  • Pål Olsen − guitars (2007–2010)
  • Bjørn Dugstad Rønnow − drums (2012–2013)

Timeline edit

Discography edit

Albums edit

Demos edit

As Natt edit

  • Natt (1996)

As Trail of Tears edit

  • When Silence Cries... (1997)

References edit

  1. ^ Trail Of Tears – Former Vocalist Rejoins The Band – Metal Storm
  2. ^ Trail of Tears – To Enter Studio In November: News @
  3. ^ Trail of Tears: Another New Song Posted Online 20 May 2009. Retrieved on 2009-08-10.
  4. ^ Trail Of Tears Parts Ways With Guitarist Paul Olsen 30 July 2010. Retrieved on 2010-07-31.
  5. ^ Trail of Tears Part Ways With Drummer Archived 29 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine 27 January 2012. Retrieved on 20 November 2012.
  6. ^ Trail of Tears Signs With Massacre Records 23 November 2012. Retrieved on 24 November 2012.
  7. ^ Trail of Tears Implodes Once Again 13 January 2013. Retrieved on 14 January 2013
  8. ^ Trail of Tears Statement 15 January 2013. Retrieved on 18 August 2013.
  9. ^ "TRAIL OF TEARS Returns; New Music In The Works". Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles. 21 October 2020. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
  10. ^ "TRAIL OF TEARS Return After More Than 10 Years With Winds Of Disdain EP". Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles. 10 January 2024. Retrieved 11 January 2024.

External links edit