Review Summary: The result of Mastodon, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and Behold... The Arctopus having sex.
Instrumental bands seem to be a dime a dozen these days, whether it be post-rock, post-metal, noise rock, or the like, and one can often get lost in the ever-growing ranks of mediocrity. Trephine are a four-piece from Baltimore, Maryland, who blend punk energy with progressive instrumental metal and a "do whatever we want" aesthetic. The result is interesting, if not perfect. Trephine
, the band's third release, features 8 tracks, yet clocks in at around 40 minutes, with a few long-runners like "Adenochrome" and "Go to Hell, Mr. Wiggles, (Part Two)."
Excluding a small sample from a movie at the beginning of "Devil's Activist," the album is entirely devoid of vocals, which adds a somewhat sinister atmosphere to some tracks, and a more laid-back feel to others. This obviously puts the instruments at the forefront of the music, a place where they truly shine. The guitarist (I'm pretty sure there's only one) is a machine, pumping out riff after riff and contributing chords, leads, and strange passages to the band's sound. The rhythm section is solid, to say the least. The bass is audible 95% of the time, and the playing often reminds me of Behold... The Arctopus
. The drums, while not spectacular, are still interesting, and keep the songs moving along for the most part, a highlight being the jazzy break in "Axolotyl."
The music can collectively be described as progressive-math-stoner-noise-metal, incorporating all of these influences into a fun package. Opener "Go to Hell, Mr. Wiggles (Part One)" starts out with some slow dissonant riffs, and then erupts into a fun DEP-type riff that continues for the rest of the song. The beginning riff is repeated at the end of Part Two, which is an angry long-runner of a song. "Age of Reptiles" features some stoner metal riffs similar to Mastodon
, and "Axolotyl"'s punk riffs constantly morph and melt into each other, creating a highlight song. "Resident Advisor" channels Behold... The Arctopus even more with strange minor-key riffing and tapped bass lines.
Song descriptions aside, Trephine
is a worthwhile experience for fans of the aforementioned bands, with its flaw being the fact that all the songs tend to run together. However, the creative, fun feel of the album should keep most listeners interested.