Theatre of Tragedy had a contract with Nuclear Blast between 2000 and 2005. During this time, they released the following albums:
• Image (2000, Single)
• Musique (2000, info)
• Machine (2001, Single, info)
• Assembly (2002, info)
• Platinum Edition (2005, Boxed Set)
In 1995 you would have been hard pressed to find a better example of gothic metal than Theatre of Tragedy. The band practically invented the genre with their self-titled debut release and the cult hit single "A Hamlet for a Slothful Vassal." The extreme contrast between male death-style vocals and soaring ethereal female singing, which is commonplace today, defined Theatre of Tragedy?s early sound. Coupled with Raymond I. Rohonyi?s depressively romantic lyrics, Theatre of Tragedy embodied every aspect of the burgeoning gothic metal scene. Their second album, Velvet Darkness They Fear, still stands as one of the most important and impressive gothic metal releases. Behind the success of the single "Tanz der Schatten," the band headlined Europe and established themselves as the premier band in the genre. Sales of the first two records passed 90,000 copies each in the European territories, proving that Theatre of Tragedy could entrance anyone with even the slightest interest in either gothic or metal.
With their third album, Aégis, the band once again mingled genres, as they began to incorporate electronic elements into their already eclectic music. The new sound was described by Metal Hammer (Germany) as "a delight for the senses but also dangerous like playing with dynamite." Indeed, the new sound exploded all over the German charts, reaching #58 and proving that the new direction had won them even more fans. Feeling they had gone as far as Massacre Records could take them, Theatre of Tragedy sought a new deal and signed with major label East West for Germany and leading independent label Nuclear Blast for the rest of the world.
Their first release for the new labels took the electronic parts of Aégis and pushed them to the forefront, creating a stronger dance vibe that continued to open the band to new audiences. The shift in sound brought them closer to ?80s new wave giants like Missing Persons, Berlin or The Human League than their more riff-oriented metal past. Musique also spawned the hit video "Image," which went on to receive heavy rotation on nearly every music channel throughout Europe. More so than in the past, Liv Kristine Espenæs became both the vocal and visual representation of the band, as her sexy look and enchanting voice reflected the new sleek direction of the band, a roll she still commands with the release of Assembly.
While continuing with the natural progression of the band, producer Hiili Hiilismaa (H.I.M., Moonspell, The 69 Eyes) brought a warmer feel to the new wave sound of Assembly, creating a less clinical and more inviting environment. And while the band (including new guitarist Vegard K. Thorsen) continues to grow and mature as songwriters and performers, Liv continues to shine as the band?s biggest star, as Assembly sees the band join the ranks of other acts like Rock Steady-era No Doubt in striving to recapture the age when femme fatales, synth melodies and just plain fun created a banner wave of "disposable" pop that remarkably remains with us today.