For every Voivod album that teaches us not to judge a book by its (horrendously poorly made) cover, there are dozens of other albums with laughably bad artwork that also contain laughably bad music. This was somewhat the case with The Kennedy Veil’s debut disc, which hid uninteresting death metal behind a photoshop abomination. They can’t be faulted for this, seeing as the it was self-released, but it’s nice to know this time around they’ve put forth a properly constructed, though again clichéd face for themselves. Of course you, the reader, are here for aesthetic discussion of the aural rather than visual variety, and thus have patiently read through this paragraph in the hope that the opening digression would, within a few sentences, fall into discussion of the merits of Trinity of Falsehood’s music. This unfortunately does not occur until paragraph two [Take your time, I’m sure they aren’t busy. — Steel Druhm].
It’s in paragraph two that you learn that not that much else has changed. Trinity has no real pitfalls; the Sacramento natives have no intention of pandering to subgenres, eschewing the breakdowns of deathcore, chuggy djent riffing, and the noodling of tech-death. Their music is of middling, though not unconvincing brutality, and their relationship with melody is one of acquaintance at best. While by no means bare-bones or minimalistic, the only real point of interest on this album is the Himsa-styled vocal delivery, which makes the lyrics a bit more decipherable than the average death metal fare, not that they’re interesting enough to warrant close attention.
In lieu of any distinctive characteristics, The Kennedy Veil manages to churn out some pretty killer riffs and a few mildly memorable songs here and there. “King of Slaves” is just a tiny bit more brutal than the rest of the album, with regular gaps in the riffs to showcase some almost delicate little drum fills, and hidden within “Enslave.Defile.Erase” is a short, but impossible not to enjoy riff that’s almost clean and pretty, but the song quickly devours it, lest it infect the album with melody. The best riffs on the album are saved for last; “Perfidia” opens with a blistering, jagged wall of guitar that jumps between time signatures and scrapes eardrums in an eminently pleasing way while leaving room for the bass to shred away underneath it.
If forced to name an outstanding feature, I would have to gravitate towards said basswork. Despite the guitars sounding pretty massive, this album’s modern, balanced production leaves enough sonic space for the bass to cut through and add a lot of depth. The title track has some of the most interesting bass-lines and comes off as one of the best tracks because of it, constantly jumping between blasts of guitar and drums and a rugged groove, while letting the bass hit some gutsy twangs underneath a powerful riff, smack dab in the middle of the song.
One might be tempted to call this album a stereotype, but that would be incorrect, since there really aren’t many bands committed to making music that defies compartmentalization as vehemently as this does. Rather than being a stereotype, Trinity of Falsehood is what Max Weber would call an “ideal type.” This album is to heavy music what Ben Franklin is to the spirit of capitalism; if you had no idea what death metal sounded like in 2014, this would be the album I would hand you. There’s absolutely no departure from form and no surprises, but there are no mistakes either. Death metal of this grade, in which absolutely no risks are taken, seems to be the risk The Kennedy Veil is attempting to take. It’s heavy, it’s brutal, it’s produced well and performed with precision, but it’s not really remarkable in any way except in how perfectly it avoids being remarkable.
If you have any interest in picking up this album, it should be as a museum piece or milestone, not a monument. Just an artifact to show that death metal is still going strong and can be true to itself, without superfluous attributes or gimmicks, but as an art form that people love enough to make for its own sake.