Truent – Through the Vale of Earthly Torment Review

Tech death is a tough game. In the skill-leading genre even more so does the crowd appear faceless, a mathy mob of scholarly guitar solos, flatulent bass, and trigger-happy kit-meisters. To stand out in the tech realm, contemporary fan favorites Archspire combine ridiculous speeds with memorable, rap-adjacent vocals and neoclassical sweeps aplenty. Meanwhile, bands in the Psycroptic school of thought attempt groove whiplash with 270 degree riff-corners that drift into stadium-size choruses. On their debut full-length outing, the young Canadian outfit Truent shows they are fans of these two styles of tech and try to paint an identity fusing them with a little modern core sentimentality. On this stroll Through the Vale of Earthly Torment, does Truent shoot out the bright signal flare of a rising star or remain stuck in a valley of joyless jitter-note jangles?

What we have here is a modern collision of progressive groove metal and technical deathcore, menacing on paper and enthusiastic in execution. This nimble combo results in an outing that’s just as much the (lightly) jazzy chunk-fest of modern Gorod as it is a tamed version of the squirt-show that is Infant Annihilator. While Truent brings youthful, limber wrists and fingers to staccato riffing, mid-stacked bass rumbles, and snakey snare stumbles, these conniving Cannucks also know that virtuosity does not earmark their music as novel. So, with a wisdom a cut above their peers, they pack tracks with hooks rather than boundless solos, all in a relatively easy to digest 33 minute runtime. In a genre that can lack in fun, Truent feels like a band at play.

Truent stakes their biggest claim with smart syncopation using spitfire verses and bark-a-long choruses. Channeling the pneumatically precise styling of Relentless Mutation-era Oli Aleron, primary throat Johnny Roodenrys rips through piston-punched verses on high-octane tracks like “The Last Hurt” and “This Verdant Coil”—each venomous string burning melody to memory. Furthering the inspiration from Archspire word-demon, Roodenrys stirs a frothing pit with stomp-led squeals that build into murderous breakdowns (“Scathe of Branches,” “Damned to the Deep”), letting Truent‘s slam hammers raised high. And with the more accessible stylings of the ever-growing catalog of chantable Revocation songs, Roodenrys curbs his scowl to a mildly fried shout for a couple choruses that you can share with your fragile friends (“Usurper of the Sky,” “Damned to the Deep”).

Squashed as they may be in the tight master, Spence McIntosh and Nic Landry hold down a respectable rhythm section. Landry works within this sound puzzle best when he’s providing popping marches and splashy cymbal work (“The Last Hunt,” “This Verdant Coil”). The plastic tink tink of his Tonka ride can get a bit frustrating, particularly on “Scathe of Branches,” where the thin sound distracts from the thicker sounds that grow into the crescendo of breakdown. Similarly, McIntosh makes his presence known during less crowded moments with a hefty, high-gain bass growl (“Silk and Bone”). Occasionally, he also jams along with scale hopping riffs (“Damned to the Deep”), which makes me wish the master allowed him a bit more space to shake the floor.

With just one obligatory (and pointless) interlude, Through the Vale of Earthly Torment rips steadily from start to finish. Though there’s not much fat to be trimmed in this lean chugging machine—which is admirable for a self-release, where indulgence can often motivate editing choices—not enough sections provide that sticky sweet ear candy that I need to satiate my curious holes completely. Thankfully, I don’t think we’ve heard the last of what Truent has to offer. In our short time with this fledgling band, Truent provides enough of a face to recall what they look like on the milk box1 when the time to dig through the pile comes again.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 52 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Self-release
Website: |
Releases Worldwide: June 17th, 2022

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Or wherever lost Canadian children get their faces plastered. Lost children on milk bags? Maple syrup jugs?
  2. Interlude is a DR8 which pulls the average up, this is primarily a DR4
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