Album Review: In Trails – Triumph in Suffering
Release time: 2011
Label: Rogue Records America
I am usually completely supportive of bands re-interpreting established styles of music, honoring the traditions set down by their influences and paying homage. However, there is a clear distinction between homage and copycat. French metalcore quintet In Trails haven’t quite crossed the border to the former, as proven in their début full-length Triumph In Suffering. Those acquainted with the Americanized version of Swedish melodeath will be instantly familiar with the sound here, combining elements of Threat Signal and Nightrage. Although doing In Trails do the metalcore genre justice, they never really establish an individual style, resulting in a feeling of re-hashing trodden ground.
After an intro made up of a melancholic guitar line and a continuous breakdown underneath, the album proper kicks off with “Kingdom Of Pit”. It’s a fairly standard metalcore number which does improve during the chorus with the Amenta-speed drumming of Leriche. The guitar and bass lines of Guerido and Allemand are entertaining on first spin, but quickly lose their appeal, especially during the frequent breakdown sections. The 4 solos on this album are evenly scattered throughout and provide light relief, particularly due to the over-powering crash cymbals exacerbating the breakdowns. In Trails do also employ some exceedingly fast sections which are more interesting (title track), but it’s not long before they drop into a slower ‘melodic section’ or a breakdown (“Virus Of Humanity”).
The point where my bone of contention rings truest is in Desvergnes’ vocals. It took me a while to establish the influences, but there is a definite Unhallowed-era Trevor Strnad (The Black Dahlia Murder) feel to his higher rasps, whereas the lower growls remind me of Antony Hämäläinen (Nightrage). They work in context of the music, but become fairly monotonous after a bit, and float just out of reach of becoming fully comprehensible. That said, the lyrics themselves are not overly inspiring, mostly dealing with fighting either in moshpits (“Kingdom…”), against the system (“Resurrection”) or against the human condition (“Virus Of Humanity”). “An Atrocious Wait” provides an example of the quality, dealing with a man tied up and waiting to be stabbed: “”You are going to know the pain/The worst of your life/And you’ve never felt it like that””. Some more varied vocals would have really improved Triumph In Suffering, either with cleans or spoken word, to make the tracks stand out.
There are some enjoyable melodies such as in “Resurrection” and the title track, and especially in the appropriately titled “Nightrage” (here homage rings a clearer bell), but most of the album passes by without much fanfare. This would be less of an issue if the songs were quick blasts, but only 2 of the 10 full songs here are less than 4 minutes, and the lack of even an acoustic break in the 6-minute “Fight Against Yourself” is sorely missed. That said, “Call Of The Deep Forest” has its stronger moments in both the slightly blackened melody and catchier vocal delivery, and remains my favorite track in the release.
Connoisseurs of this style of metalcore will know the score already, and while Triumph In Suffering doesn’t sound particularly novel to my ears, I know that others searching for more of this genre will get a headbang out of it. Once In Trails forge a more individual identity, and incorporate a bit more variety, I can see them pulling out a great sophomore. For now though, I’d only really recommend this to completionists of the genre.
My Grade: 5.0/10
Buy this when:
- you’re a fan of newer Nightrage/Threat Signal
- you enjoy breakdowns
- lyrics are not the most prominent aspect of an album experience