I am the Trireme Gnosis Never Follow the Light 01Electing to join the I Am the Wooden Object Club before The Table Himself even did, I Am the Trireme’s name can be described as “I am the Phoenician, ancient Greek, or Roman naval vessel with three rows of oars.” Luckily they didn’t pick that one, but in the spirit of needlessly long names, they’ve called their first full-length Gnosis: Never Follow the Light. We know right off the bat that these guys can produce pretentious sounding names for things, but that’s not what we’re here for; we’re here to see what they bring to the Hetfield musically.

IATT “used to” be a metalcore band, and to my ears they essentially still are. Before we continue, hear me out: I don’t mind metalcore when it’s done well, because it’s fun, catchy, and concise. Stylistically, their closest relative is the black metalcore band Abigail Williams, an uninspiring band whose defining achievement was their singer appearing in an Alestorm song. Given that metalcore mercilessly pilfers riffs and ideas from Slaughter of the Soul, it makes a strange sort of sense that some of the record’s black metal influences here come from Sweden too: Dawn’s melo-black beast Slaughtersun (Crown of the Triarchy) gets some love, and the requisite nods to Dissection’s Storm of the Light’s Bane are present and accounted for in some leads and acoustic passages. From Norway, Dimmu Borgir’s poppier moments make a cameo in the form of what sounds like synthesized strings to make things appear epic.

IATT is a talented group of metalcore musicians, and as such, the most metalcore oriented aspects are the strongest. “Grey Fields of Ash” apes what At the Gates did on “Cold” with a clean guitar break appearing suddenly and leading into a good solo, but IATT tinkers with the formula a bit by interjecting a nice synthesized string segment that leads into the melody-focused slaughter of the solo well enough. The long midsection of “A Sullen Reflection of Purity” rides a nice metalcore-ish (read: Swede-lite) melody that switches out some well-placed Hammond organ for chugging guitars typical of that genre with a solid Bjorler disciple lead over top.

Where IATT stumbles is when they try to force the black metal influence. The “black metal” riffs here come across as imitation-grade Swedish black metal run through a metalcore filter and in turn, they leave no real impression nor create any interest. “Basking in the Essence of My Sorrow” can’t quite decide whether it wants to be bland metalcore or bland melo-black, entirely failing at both by committing fully to neither, but still erring closer to metalcore. “Ascending Into Oblivion” attempts to pull a “Where Dead Angels Lie” in its introduction, but neither the acoustic nor electric part is interesting, so it falls on its face immediately. It continues indecisively for another ten minutes, breaking out random quiet sections and incorporating Blasphemer’s playing style now and again, but with such an underdeveloped and bog-standard black metal implementation in the songwriting, it simply doesn’t work. Like “Tamerlane (Chapter 1)” and “Tamerlane (Chapter 2)” it leans far too heavily on metalcore conventions to come anywhere close to succeeding as black metal and isn’t fun or hooky enough to succeed as metalcore. I’m probably just piling on at this point, but “Trusty Noose” sees the boring black metalcore interrupted with an absolutely abhorrent chorus of “la la la’s” that sees vocalist Jay Briscoe shouting his own “la la la’s” over them, and I’m shocked such fucking malarkey didn’t end up on the cutting room floor where it belongs, to be buried by time and dust never to be heard again. This all takes place across a downright gratuitous sixty-one minutes of music as well, and I wish the band had thought to abbreviate the record’s runtime as they did their name on its cover.

I am the Trireme Gnosis Never Follow the Light 02

I can’t even compliment the production here, as G:NFtL sounds weak. Again, it’s metalcore at heart but sounds like it’s trying to be black metal; there’s almost zero low end presence, plenty of overtly trebly guitars, and a snappy and compressed drum sound. It’s not raw in any sense, although it sounds like it tried to approximate being so. Dropping the black metal pretensions here would have made IATT’s sound more enjoyable, and this is endemic to G:NFtL.

IATT sounds like they’re confused about their musical identity. Attempting to merge two disparate genres just didn’t work here, especially with such meandering and ineffective songwriting. I quite enjoy black metal and can enjoy the odd metalcore record, but G:NFtL overwhelmingly lacks the appealing aspects of both genres, creating an overlong, unmemorable, disjointed, and ultimately unsatisfying mess of a record.

Rating: 1.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Horror Pain Gore Death Productions
Websites: IAmtheTriremeOfficial | Facebook.com/IAmtheTrireme
Release Dates: Out Worldwide 06.30.2015

  • Levly

    Not interested in the band in the slightest, but glad to see Dawn get a mention. Slaughtersun was a special record :).

    • basenjibrian

      Yes to Slaughtersun!

    • If you are in the lookout for a better executed Dawn/Dissection worship I think you should check out Ninkharsag: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5LLQIxnTtM

      • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

        Not too shabby! Thanks for that, these guys slipped under my radar entirely.

        • I think the same can be said about my review, it was my first here :D

      • Levly

        Wow, this record is indeed pretty awesome :)

  • AndySynn

    “Stylistically, their closest relative is the black metalcore band Abigail Williams, an uninspiring band whose defining achievement was their singer appearing in an Alestorm song.”

    Yeah, so, Legend sucked, ItSoaTS was good Dimmu/Emperor worship, ItAoL was great, and their last band Becoming made a huge impact and is a fantastic album.

    So… not sure where you’re getting tour info from there. Not been a shred of metalcore in the band since, what, 2006?

    • Whiskeyjack

      Got to agree with mr Synn here, Becoming was a corker of an album. The track “beyond the veil” gives me shivers everytime that violin melody comes in.

      • basenjibrian

        I’ll chime in agreement here. Absolutely adore Becoming and don’t really understand the metalcore reference either.

        • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

          To reply to both at once, I prefaced Abigail Williams with “black metalcore band” to implicitly throw Becoming out of the discussion, because it has nothing to do with this record. Plus, the majority of their releases are, to my ears, black metalcore. When we say “death metal band Morbid Angel”, we’re referring to the sound they were most known for, not Illud Divinum Insanus. Given that Becoming is widely regarded as AW’s “different” record (thus *not* the sound they were known for), I figured that was fine to do.

          • basenjibrian

            Fair enough, DiM. But I guess to me AW had always been known as a band that shed styles like a chameleon, so to tar them with “metalcore” as THE definition for the band seems unfair.
            But no worries!

          • Personally, I’d go with “soulless trend-hoping front runners.”

          • basenjibrian

            Except that three of their four? five? albums are such good trend-hopping music.
            Not everyone can be a sui generis special artisitc flower creating completely unique and epic for all time works of ART.
            Is BECOMING really such an unworthy album? I can;t agree.

          • I’m the one that reviewed their Becoming album, and I gave it high marks, but the fact remains, they jump onboard whatever style is trending and to me they have zero credibility.

            And to my ears, Becoming is the only worthwhile thing they ever did.

          • And nice use of “Sui generis” by the way. We attorneys love that kind of thing.

          • basenjibrian

            I love black metal and death metal. OF COURSE I have to love Latin! Satanus Exultanus (or whatever)
            And fair enough. I just look at the final product and don’t try to “judge” bands. Heck, who am I to judge…I am lucky to be able to figure out an iTunes account, let alone compose music or play an instrument well!

          • I’m judging you for not being more judgmental.

          • basenjibrian

            To quote Gaahl, I spit upon your judgement because I am ME ME ME and I am a special Uberman!

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      I debated including a “Becoming wasn’t black metalcore” bit in there, but decided against it as I figured most knew they jettisoned their old sound and may as well have become a new band there (I still wasn’t a fan, but to each their own). It’s also why I included “black metalcore band” in the descriptor instead of just saying Abigail Williams, as to all but spell out what AW albums this one apes. The riffing on ItSoaTS sounds like metalcore with a bunch of keyboards over top to me, so we’ll have to agree to disagree there. At least we see eye to eye on Legend’s awfulness, so there’s that! As for ItAoL, they started going less core, yes, but they also incorporated it better than before: I heard metalcore particularly in “Malediction”‘s jarring attention-grabbing changes, the solo-ish segment of “The Mysteries That Bind the Flesh”, and breakdown part halfway through “An Echo in Our Legends” that just sort of shows up out of nowhere, for a few examples.

      I don’t think we’ll ever agree on Abigail Williams but I’m glad you found enjoyment them, as I just couldn’t. Please don’t take this as a ploy for some sort of “superiority” or any such nonsense either, it’s just my two cents on the matter.

  • Excentric_1307

    Listening to the sample track, it’s kinda a shame that there’s so many mistakes on this album because there’s also some interesting ideas in there as well. Good review though, pretty much nails it.

  • Soge

    I am the first naval unit of the game, used to wrestle control of the seas. And judging by my music, also unable to enter deep waters.

    • Excentric_1307

      Oh good, someone else plays Civ!

    • I’ll admit I read this with Nimoy’s voice.

  • Celaeno

    Malarkey may be one of my favorite words. I liked the first ten seconds of the embedded song, but then it sounded like someone stuffed cotton balls into my ears and I couldn’t get over it.

  • Kronos

    That intro is top-notch.

  • Wilbur Teegrus

    I love the intro…”I am the wooden ____” XD

    • Wilhelm

      hmmm more like “Odal”

  • chitownproud85

    Been listening to parts of this album, and using Spotify to listen to their back catalog, and I gotta say – I really like the “Pray for Damnation” EP. I actually dont hear much metalcore at all(save for the occasional(LOOSELY DEFINED AS) breakdown. I dont hear nearly as much deathcore/metalcore as I do black metal. Didnt expect to find a seconds worth of enjoyment out of this band(LOOK AT THAT FUCKING ALBUM COVER! WHAT-THE-FUCK) but I’ll be damned if I wasnt wrong. Not bad, particularly for American(United States) Black Metal. …Just dont look at pictures of the band. Instant ruin.

    • chitownproud85

      Oh and as a quick aside, all albums that were mentioned in the post or frequently in the comments below have been added to my spotify playlist so I can examine the fuss for myself. Thanks all