Monday, April 8, 2013

Black Trillium - The Black Trillium

Black Trillium
The Black Trillium
Independent Release

Following on from their impressive debut E.P. release ‘The Locked Woods’ from 2012, Sydney (New South Wales, Australia) based outfit Black Trillium has returned with a new E.P. in the form of ‘The Black Trillium’. Spearheading this four track effort is the title track ‘The Black Trillium’, which is lyrically inspired by the fantasy novel ‘Black Trillium’ from 1990 (Which was written by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Julian May and Andre Norton). Prior to the song’s release, the band (Who comprise of outfit ex-EnviroCore/Ministerium multi-instrumentalists Simon Skipper and Zach Carlson) claimed the song was their most doom-laden effort to date. And sure enough, the band was spot on with their description. Opening with some majestic piano (Provided by Melanie Touw, who also designed the artwork), the band soon make an entrance through thick doom-like guitar riffs delivered in suffocating slow motion. The clean vocals add a distinctly mournful feel to the track, while the use of growled vocals provide a bit of aggression to the mix, which helps give the song a bit of depth and variation. At certain points, the song takes on a bit more of a melodic death metal feel with some tight knit riffing and intense drumming, but the ever present doom metal template of the song as a whole is maintained throughout. ‘The Black Trillium’, much like the tracks that appeared on their first E.P., is very much rooted within the doom metal sound, but has enough variation and changes in sound to stand out as something truly different from most. If this track says one thing about Black Trillium, it’s that there’s more to the band’s overall sound than most within the genre.
The remaining three tracks on the band’s latest E.P. are a collection of covers from bands that have helped shape and influence the band.
The first track Black Trillium has chosen to give a makeover is ‘The Tempter’, which was originally recorded by doom metal pioneers Trouble on their debut album ‘Pslam 9’ back in 1984. Black Trillium’s cover doesn’t deviate too much from the original in the musical sense, apart from an obvious sharper and cleaner guitar tone on the riff front. The clear difference can be found on the vocal front, where the contrast between the clean and growled efforts gives a completely different feel to Eric Wagner’s unique voice. Overall, it’s a great choice in song, and a pretty cool cover.
Next up is the band’s take on Black Sabbath’s classic ‘Electric Funeral’ (From 1970’s ‘Paranoid’), which is perfectly suited to the band given the original’s trademark doom riffs and slower paced tempo. Again, there’s no real deviation from the original, but the sharpened and thick sounding riffs give the song a heavier edge, and the clean vocals do manage to shed new light on the classic.
Finishing up the E.P. is the cover of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Paint It, Black’ (From 1966’s ‘Aftermath’), which is the one cover on this E.P. that really has undergone a huge transformation by the band. The slower tempo, mournful guitar leads and the equally sorrowful vocals (Which are nicely doubled up for effect) turn this rock classic into something more doom orientated with great success. Of the covers included, this track is by far the most surprising, and enjoyable.
Despite only featuring one original, ‘The Black Trillium’ is a great follow-up to the impressive ‘The Locked Woods’, and again demonstrates Black Trillium’s ability to take doom metal beyond its tired and predictable clich├ęs and create music that defies its limited genre tag.
In the end, if you’re a fan of doom metal with a twist of the different, check out ‘The Black Trillium’.

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© Justin Donnelly

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