I am the Trireme – Gnosis: Never Follow the Light (Horror Pain Gore Death Productions, 30 June 2015)
Hello out there — and a happy Saturday to you! Hopefully you’re all in the midst of celebrating a nice long weekend (at least for those of us in the U.S.) in classic unofficial-end-of-summer style, with plenty of food cooked over charcoal, and definitely plenty of bottles of fermented beverages. Not to mention lots of good music. Seems like a perfect time to get out there and catch a show, whether it’s at an outdoor festival or somebody’s basement, or whatever.
If you happen to live somewhere near Pittsburgh, might I suggest this one: locals United By Hate are playing at the Rock Room in the Polish Hill neighborhood, and kicking off a bit of a tour; that trip will take the band through Philadelphia on Tuesday night, where they’ll be performing with that city’s I am the Trireme, who are returning the favor by making the trip out here to play at tonight’s Pittsburgh show! Sorry if that sounded a bit confusing, but to make a long story short, if you live in western Pennsylvania you’ll get to see both bands tonight, while our cross-state neighbors will have that chance on Tuesday the 6th.
I just happened upon this information randomly on Facebook, and it reminded me that I had been meaning to write something about IATT‘s album Gnosis: Never Follow the Light ever since I first heard it when the City of Brotherly Love based label Horror Pain Gore Death released it last summer. Mostly based in blackened and death metal, the album impressed me with its range and variety, and I think you’ll agree if you check it out …
Although the band cites mostly death metal bands as influences, and they seem to have more of a black metal vibe about them (in several contexts, I’ve seen them described as a black metal band), their actual sound is a bit tougher to nail down than that. Each of the nine tracks on this album introduces some different unexpected elements: for example, probably the most straightforwardly “black metal” track here is “Trusty Noose” — except that there’s a section with these like Danny-Elfman-soundtrack-from-a-Tim-Burton-movie-esque “la la la” singalong vocals that appear out of nowhere. That song ends with some nice-sounding classical guitar, followed by the sound of crows cawing and (fittingly) what may be the sound of a rope twisting?
Elements of classical/acoustic guitar are incorporated all over this album, beginning with the quick break midway through opening track “Metre Fin a Cette,” which otherwise is mostly fast and complex proggy-thrash with a piercing lead guitar tone and harsh, raspy/croaky blackened vocals. But later, the band also brings in some strings and the occasional twinkle of a piano in the background, complementing the various different overlapping vocal parts. Epic arrangements that blend the acoustic guitars and strings with a variety of prog/black/thrash styles seem to be the main M.O. here.
This is especially true throughout the second half of the album, starting with the slow, blackened death/doom of “Thy Sombering Light”: lengthy songs (each between seven and eleven minutes, if you consider the final two tracks to be parts of the same song), with plenty of acoustic guitar, strings, and piano; dark and ominous vibes and rather progressive structures. Another of these, “A Sullen Reflection of Purity” features some guitar riffs that are a bit reminiscent of “Hallowed Be Thy Name,” and you don’t get much more epic than that!
While the guitars are excellent throughout all of these songs, between their layered arrangements and the complex solos, that’s not to say the rest of the band isn’t holding up their end of things, too. “Tamerlane (Chapter 1),” which consists once again of primarily fast-paced blackened metal, particularly showcases the drums, with a wide variety of styles and techniques; the final track “Tamerlane (Chapter 2)” is a bit slower and more stately, like a blend of epic gothic/death/doom, but the sparser instrumentation here really allows the embellishment-laden bassline to shine through, up until the song (and the album) finally concludes with a sullen piano-violin duet.
You can give Gnosis a listen using this Bandcamp player. Ideally, you should be able to buy a copy directly from the band if you’re able to make it out to one of their shows. But if you won’t be in those areas, you could still grab one right here.
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