Trephine
Trephine

While I enjoy a certain few instrumental bands such as Pelican, Keelhaul, Electro Quarterstaff and Tides I generally like my music with vocals. But Trephine presents a rather interesting take on instrumental mayhem, with a rather eclectic style of instrumental metal. Forsaking the norm of expansive atmospheric droning, Trephine, like Dysrythmia, takes a more spastic, jazz infused, technical take on instrumental metal.An easy description would Mastodon or Swarm of the Lotus without vocals, as Baltimore’s Trephine present a fairly complex, heavy and dissonant sound, albeit laced with quirky song titles and off kilter structures, they still have some surprising clout for an instrumental band. Consisting of Dave Batovsky-percussion, Chuck Collins-guitar, Will Doane-bass, and Chris Meszler-drums, Trephine are certainly competent musicians with a far reaching sphere of external influences, but they manage to create their own sound though sharing the stage with an assorted mob of bands like Queens of the Stone Age, Mr. Bungle, Dillinger Escape Plan, Burnt by the Sun, Jucifer, Rasputina, Swarm of the Lotus, Pelican, YOB, Rwake, The Hidden Hand and Alabama Thunderpussy has certainly rubbed off.

“Mr. Wiggles Goes to Hell (Part One),” opens this can of instrumental whoopass with throbbing lead in before careening into the expected chaos. “Age of Reptiles” actually pens like a “regular” song with meaty riffage before embracing amore jazz fused from of metal tomfoolery. While I certainly gave this more listening time than most instrumental projects, mainly drawn in by often random segues into impressive metal ballistics (“Metal Detector,” “Resident Advisor”), the fact is, as a whole, tracks are virtually indecipherable from one another as the free wheeling, vocal-less jazz-core quirkiness (“Devils Advocate,” “Axolotyl”) often just melds into one atonal jam session. That’s not to say its fun at times, but I prefer a more structured sound and yes, I want vocals.

Later on in the album, Trephine do saunter into the more expansive introspective sound as heard in moments of “Adrenochrome” and “Goes To Hell, Mr. Wiggles (Part Two),” but those two tracks come at the end of the album, when the tolerance level for stuttering musical gymnastics is lower and the patience isn’t there, which is a shame as these two tracks offer a little more structural variety and plausible enjoyment.

Still, as an instrumental release, Trephine held my interest more than most with their avant-garde delivery and technical prowess that should please all instrumental, jazz, metal, thrash, stoner, doom, rock fans out there.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
June 6th, 2005

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