Tragedy in Hope – Smile at Death

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/label URL: Self-released
Released: 2019
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Sasha Giller



1. Alone In The Woods
2. Smile At Death
3. Pierce The Heavens
4. Grim Love Story




Tragedy in Hope is a one man project headed by Sasha Giller of St. Petersburg Russia. The EP Smile at Death was produced and released in 2019. It’s quite a short EP with 4 songs. The first songs are around 1-2 minutes long, the second two are 4-5 minutes long. So there’s around 13 minutes of music on this EP.

I will start off right now by saying that after the first introduction song, every song after felt like I was listening to Cradle of Filth. The vocals were very close to Dani Filth’s style and sound. Though yes, I do understand the songwriter was creating very much his own music in relation to the modern world. The lyrics are original, and the lyrics to each song were provided, in English. Much of the vocals were also done in English.

The introduction track, ‘Alone In The Woods’, sets up a grim, dark atmosphere. It starts with keyboards then an otherworldly choir joins in and symphonic elements. As it builds one hears a woman sobbing louder and louder until she shrieks one last time in the end. This track is meant to convey the fear and desolation of being lost in a dark, scary place, whether it be one’s own mind or a literal forest. Immediately after, the self titled EP track ‘Smile At Death’ begins hard and fast. Very much a symphonic/gothic metal sound that ticks all the boxes, and this is not a bad thing. I give the vocalist major props because these vocals are far from easy. They are not typical black metal and that is why there is such a close comparison to CoF. There are also hints of Emperor too. The clean vocals were also well done. It’s not exactly clear who the other talents for the album are since the only artist credited and shown is Sasha. His songwriting is really poetic and I can see it clearly coming from the mind of someone from younger generations. Smile At Death is a solid track but quite short only 2:21 minutes in length. I enjoyed Grim Love Story the most. None of the tracks were weak and they were full of energy. They would go well to theatrical music videos and stage shows.

I believe though that for a first production this is a good way to put your art out and see how it is received. I enjoy symphonic and atmospheric black metal. This was definitely well thought out and produced: the guitar riffs, the symphonic elements are cohesive and all fit well together. The lyrics come from a dark place and tell a story. I believe if one enjoys symphonic black metal they should definitely give this a proper listen through. It’s not too long, it’s a great piece of Russian black metal and Sasha is a great songwriter and musician. Tragedy in Hope gives me enough symphonic black metal with its own narrative and solid musicianship.