Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Album Review: I Am the Trireme- Unholy Divination

Dude... that's fucking cool

I was going to do a quick article about how Dragonforce have found a new lead singer, but then I remembered that I seem to be one of about eighteen people who still like Dragonforce, so fuck it. Now you know, and now we can get on with this review. This review is going to be a retro one, because this EP actually came out sometime last year. Unholy Divination is the newest offering from the Philadelphia-based melodic blackened death outfit I Am the Trireme, a band that we featured in our most recent show review. As I've said before, I'm pretty biased towards these guys since they've been friends of mine for some time now, but that doesn't make the music any better or worse, so let's do this.

From a musical standpoint, the band has improved vastly since their last EP Viatica. There were some good songs on that one, but for the most part it was still pretty much a breakdown-heavy chug fest. There are a few breakdowns on this one too, but they're much more spaced out this time, and keep in mind the band has been working on new material since this, and vocalist Jay Briscoe has personally assured me that they've more or less dropped breakdowns from their songs entirely. Pus, even with the breakdowns the music here still sounds massive. The riffs are fast and ominous, the solos are great, even the synthesized orchestration sounds epic, and I'm not usually a fan of MIDI orchestras. The only slight drawback is the drums, but we'll get to that later. When you put all of this together, the end result is something that's equal parts melodic and brutal, like a slower Abigail Williams. Many skeptics might lump them in with Winds of Plague, and that's not an unfair accusation with the breakdowns, but rest assured, I Am the Trireme still wipes the floor with bands like them. I defy any of those wannabes to match Joe Cantamessa's scales and sweeps, you will lose. Top all of that off with thought-provoking, blasphemous themes and you've got the basic idea of what I Am the Trireme is all about.

On the other hand, there are a couple hiccups along the way. To go back to the drum comment I made earlier, the problem isn't a lack of talent, but consistency. The whole album is pretty much custom made for fast, consistent blast beats and double bass, but more often than not the drums are either (in my opinion) too slow, or don't stay fast for long enough. A perfect example is the first track "From Beyond the Waking World" (not counting the intro track); it starts off with a lightning fast drum fill and immediately goes into this menacing, ominous tremolo picked riff, and then you would think the drums would come back in with super fast blast beats, but instead it's just a disappointingly slow double bass rhythm. This sort of thing happens all throughout the EP, or sometimes the snare track isn't loud enough so you can't tell if he's still blasting or just playing double bass. It's such a huge disappointment too, because the crazy fast stuff that you can hear makes those parts sound infinitely better. I'm telling you, if their new drummer (oh yeah, they got a new drummer since they recorded the EP too) can tighten up and maintain his intensity with the new material, this band could be the next Fleshgod Apocalypse. The only other thing working against them is the slightly annoying breakdowns, but like I said, the new material is completely two-step free. These guys are thinking brutal, not br00tal.


Despite the few minor complaints I mentioned, you should definitely pick up Unholy Divination if you're looking for some really good, forward-thinking local metal. If any of you are in the Trenton, New Jersey area next week the band is opening for Rotting Christ, Melechesh, Abigail Williams, Hate, Lecherous Nocturne and other cool black metal bands at the Championship Bar & Grille on Thursday, March 8th. I made damn sure to get my ticket the last time I saw them, and you can expect a full review of the show shortly thereafter. Hit I Am the Trireme up on their Facebook for show dates and tickets, and while you're at it share it on Twitter or whatever. God, I hate talking about Twitter so damn much. Before we go, here's one of the songs from this EP, called "I Am Many". It's not my favorite one, but it's a good example of what I was talking about; take a listen and imagine how much better it would be with less breakdowns and more blast beats.

See you next time, bros and lady-bros.


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