Review Summary: Dungeons & Dragons: The Album
The Gloom In The Corner are an intriguing band, to say the least. The Australian metalcore act steeps their music in cinematic concepts, with each of their releases telling a cohesive and connected story drenched in lore. The band dubs their music as “Cinemacore”, a label that is as valid as it is cheesy, serving as a fitting description of what their music sounds like. Full of all of the metalcore tropes you know with an added taste for theatrics, ‘Trinity‘ is no exception. The new album continues the story where their most recent EPs left off with orchestral instrumentation and a dramatic flair. It’s the audible representation of a theatre kid trying to make metal music, for better or for worse.
In many ways, the cinematic approach the band takes elevates their music and makes it a lot more enjoyable, and the creativity on display is honorable. TGITC take their craft very seriously, and their dedication to the fantastical story they are telling is at the very least respectable, even if the story itself sounds like a Dungeon and Dragons campaign manager’s wet dream.
Frontman Mikey Arthur displays an impressive vocal range throughout every track, employing different styles and techniques to represent individual characters in the aptly named ‘Gloom Cinematic Universe’ (yes, they actually call it that) lore. Furthermore, the album contains a whos-who of metalcore vocalists, with nine of the thirteen tracks on the album containing guest features from notable A-listers, who all voice various characters themselves. This for the most part is a good thing, as the features oftentimes turn into duets and add dynamicism to the tracks with their parts, keeping the songs fresh.
The album is incredibly unpredictable, weaving through twists and turns in sound much like your favorite movie or Tolkien novel would in its plot. One moment, you’re listening to an operatic piano ballad, the next you’re getting smacked around by visceral screams and djenty guitars. See the 8-minute closer “Hail to the King” for example, which opens with a Frank Sinatra-inspired jazz progression before Joe Bad of Fit For An Autopsy appears out of nowhere with a freight train of deathcore growls and intense instrumentation. This makes for a thoroughly engaging and at times shocking, but intentionally jarring listen, which is simultaneously one of the ‘Trinity’s biggest strengths and weaknesses. There are moments where TGITC throw every curveball imaginable at once, and it clashes its own thick layering or gets too jarring to even comprehend. “Behemoth” is the worst offender here, which at one point layers beefy guitars, screams, rapping, tempo changes, and dense programming all at once, while the mix collapses on itself over lyrics that sound like they were written by a 13 year old edgelord.
Despite the more theatrical cuts such as “Red Clouds” providing much-needed breathers and sonic diversity on the lengthy album, ‘Trinity’s best moments are when the band unleashes hell with unrelenting brutality and seething rage. “Nor Hell A Fury” dives straight into the unholy circles of hell itself, being the most intense and fun song on the project with ruthless aggression and devastating riffs. The track, alongside Ryan Kirby’s (Fit For A King) contribution to the mathcoreish breakdown of “Gatekeeper” gives the latter half of the album a shot in the arm, keeping the listener on their toes and defying any preconceived expectations set by earlier cuts on the record.
Speaking of earlier cuts, the first 8 “chapters” of ‘Trinity’ go by at lightning speed, largely thanks to the album’s perfect tracklist flow and fast-paced riffage. Coincidentally, they also feel like one long song, aided by the ominous appearance of ‘The Narrator’ (who sounds like he talks through the Darth Vader voice-changing helmet you got from Walmart when you were eight) bridging the gap between “Obliteration Imminent”, “Ronin”, and “Black Rot”. The former and latter of the three however have impressive features from Monique Pym (Reliqa) and Monica Strut (The Last Martyr), whose vocals intertwine beautifully with Arthur’s and can also be heard at different points throughout the rest of the record.
Overall, ‘Trinity’ is a solid record from one of the scene’s most creative-minded new acts that lives up to its own pretentious ambition and is a journey to behold for those who dare tread its path. For all of its theatrics and shock value, I found myself enjoying the album the more I delved into it, with each listen uncovering another layer amidst its dense production and instrumentation that I missed previously. From the deranged ferocity of “Clutch” to the soaring melodic choruses of “Pandora’s Box”, there's a lot to take in and appreciate on this adventurous album. The instrumentation and songwriting on the record for the most part is extremely impressive and unique, performed with loads of talent and passion. Even if it is bogged down by lyrics that are completely meaningless to those who are not caught up on the lore (such as myself), the record is an enjoyable experience to listen to.