Release DetailsLABEL Public Guilt
RELEASED ON 5/31/2005
posted on 5/2005 By:
If you’re an instrumental band, to be perfectly honest, unless your band is named after a large sea bird, I’m usually not very likely to buy your album. I never mind the odd instrumental sandwiched between otherwise vocal filled tracks, and like plenty of albums that have very scarce vocals. It’s odd really, as I don’t care a bit about lyrics and frankly, consider the human voice just another instrument, but an entire album with no human voices at all is usually regarded with a modicum of doubt. The benchmark of course is whether the listener can enjoy an instrumental without losing interest and/or feeling that vocals would make it a better song. It’s rare that a band can persuade the listener into feeling that vocals would instead detract from an album, but that’s exactly what talented instrumentalists like Trephine are able to do.
Named after a surgical instrument used to bore holes into human skulls, Trephine themselves are anything but boring. The full length debut of this Maryland four piece is chock full of an expansive mishmash of styles that are blended together with an effective balance of punch, melody, and technique. The band weaves between genres ranging from math metal to prog to punk, to create dynamic and engaging songs. Like a metal version of Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, Trephine use snatches of quirky melody lines to give songs distinct personality. But the band never stays in one place too long, using repetition only long enough to serve the song before moving off to another riff, another genre, and another tempo.
The band pulls a bait and switch as the album begins and “Goes To Hell, Mr. Wiggles (Part One)” slowly unfurls in the vein of post-sludge for a full two minutes before the band jump starts into quick sliding riffs and lead work. Trephine balance fast, heavy bursts with frequent expansive, loping riffs and unusual drumming patterns to both create plenty of hooks and keep the listener interested in the technical aspects of the songs. Other stand out tracks on the album are “Axolotyl” and the nine minute album closer, “Goes To Hell, Mr. Wiggles (Part Two)”. At 40 minutes long, the album plays well from front to back without wearing out its welcome, another accomplishment for an instrumental band.
Having toured with the likes of Pelican, Queens of the Stone Age, YOB, DEP, and Swarm of the Lotus, Trephine’s sound is varied enough to find a home amongst a diverse crowd of fans of heavy music. These guys are almost assuredly one hell of a live band, as I hope to find out for myself. Even if you aren’t usually likely to pony up for instrumental albums, Trephine is worth a look.
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