Modern death metal is a remarkably precarious thing, it would seem. You don’t need to look too hard before you find some stringy-haired purist in acid-wash jeans proclaiming how “death metal died in 1993”. Typically, these people will vehemently oppose any kind of deviation from the archetypal stylings of Incantation, Autopsy and co, dismissing all that is untrue without a second thought. The Kennedy Veil have one objective, to sound like a modern death metal act without the commonly stigmatised elements. Indeed, the band itself seems fairly resolute about the whole thing as well, proudly proclaiming their “no throwbacks, no breakdowns, no wanking, no trends” vision for all to scrutinise. While it is difficult to accuse them of not achieving what they wanted for all intents and purposes, it’s arguable that their artistic vision is inherently flawed.
Trinity of Falsehood
’s biggest strength, given its fairly steadfast nature, is a sense of boundaries. The guitar work is unfailingly technical without being ostentatious, even featuring a melodic edge to balance out all the shredding and intermittent bottom string chugging. Vocally, new boy Taylor Wientjes is reasonably impressive, though he doesn’t possess the most powerful voice, he compensates with contagious enunciation and commendable intensity. Even the odd double tracked lyric manages to sound as menacing as intended. The song writing is reserved by modern death metal standards, but as a result also comes across as more coherent than that of many of the band’s contemporaries. The short track lengths narrow the margin of error in the song-writing department substantially, with the focus squarely planted on reeling off one infectious riff after another. “Necrotic Gospel” and “In The Ashes of Humanity” prove to be highlights in an album characterised by consistency, showcasing the band at their most infectious and resilient.
With just five of the eleven tracks surpassing the three minute mark, forays into softer, some would say “progressive” territory are entirely absent. While this helps each song come across as focused, the overall experience can begin to wear thin even despite the album’s brevity. Being fixated on maximum attack for the entirety of its half hour runtime, the album occasionally stagnates in the second half. More often than not, the abundant hooks manage to keep the listener engaged, but at the same time would have been even more effective if the listener were given some breathing space. This isn’t helped by the production job, which – in accordance to The Kennedy Veil’s ambitions – is characteristically modern. While it certainly compliments the brutal instrumentation, the lack of dynamic range and triggered, blast-happy drumming saps a considerable amount of energy from would be more intense passages. The album’s straight-forwardness proves to be a double edged sword in that case, but it is at least wielded with poise for the most part, and for that reason still manages to impress despite its inherent shortcomings.
Trinity of Falsehood
is a curious example of a modern death metal band acknowledging the limitations of their craft and – for the most part – working around them. But while it is refreshing to see a band so vigilant in their approach, that very approach proves to be an undoing of sorts. Stripping the modern variant of death metal back as they have doesn’t result in a purer piece of work, but simply one that lacks the charm of old school and the flash of the new. Regardless, Trinity of Falsehood
is a more than competent album in its own right, albeit a misguided one.