Produced and engineered by Mark Daghorn at Red House Farm. Mixed by Karl Groom at Thin Ice Studios. Mastered by Dave Aston at the Digital Audio Company. Released on Rising Records (Rising CD024).
This is the debut album from Bath/Bristol-based ‘technical death metal’ band Trigger the Bloodshed, released in 2007 and I don’t think it would be unfair the sum up this album as extreme. And more than a bit drummy.
Drummer Max Blunos is quite astonishing! He was only 16 when this album came out. I wondered if the drums were programmed, I mean how can anyone drum in any kind of sustained way at 256 bpm?! But check out this video of him on YouTube, I’d give him an award for his technical proficiency alone:
Interestingly in that video when asked about his drum sounds on their next album Blunos said that they wanted to get away from the “over triggered, really computerised sounding drums” on this album to something more natural. So maybe there was an element of programming, after all.
This is an astonishingly brutal and technical album. It is quite astounding to listen to: a wall of blast beats, a dervish swirl of guitar riffs, and choking vocals that switch to screams.
The trouble is, though, there is very little variation. One song bleeds into the next (pun intended), and after ten minutes of noise and shouting I felt a little numb to the sheer power of the music. I can see why they wanted something a little more organic on the next album, because as beautifully technical as this album is it lacks a certain something, something organic, something—dare I say—human: it lacks a warmth. But perhaps that’s the feel they were going for: something psychotic, something cold and calculated.
And there are moments where the barrage subsides and other dynamics are revealed. Track nine, “Lovers” slows down about 1′ 20″ and offers a welcome hiatus in the midst of the drumming torrent.
And then there are a couple of experimental tracks, “Hollow” (track 8) and “Domicile” (track 15) which both sound like ambient clips from horror films, which also punctuate the album. As does the introduction to the closing track “A perfect casket” which has an almost gentle, haunting feel to it. I’d love to hear complete tracks in that style.
For me this isn’t the perfect death metal album—I would choose Death’s Leprosy or Morbid Angel’s Blessed are the Sick over this any day—but I can certainly appreciate the skill required to play this genre of music. It is certainly very, very impressive, particularly for a debut album. And from a British band, too.
Planet Loud, who gave the album 9/10 (according to the sticker on the front of the CD) described this album as “the best death metal album to come out of the UK in a long, long time”. I can’t really argue with that.
Review score: 70%