EP Review: I Am the Trireme – Pray for Damnation
Band: I Am the Trireme (US)
Album: Pray for Damnation (EP, 2012)
Genre: Symphonic Blacked Death
Hot shit, fresh from the press! US Symphonic Black / Death outfit I Am the Trireme, named after the ancient Greek / Roman type of battleship that was capable of ramming other ships and snapping them in two like matches – it’s a bit what the band’s music does to your head: skull-splitting – is about to release a new, five-song EP, to be titled Pray for Damnation.
The Baboon has got a real premiere this time, as IATT, a five-piece residing in Philadelphia PA, selected us to do the first review of the bleeder, ahead of all the rest of Metal Blogdom. Our fuckin’ honor!
Pray for Damnation stacks up over 25 minutes of symphonics-infused robustness. Two sets of two songs with a piano interlude in the middle that is scary as hell, largely because of the shit-flies buzzing around the corpse described by the song. Scary is something that goes for the whole release by the way. But, where the band’s previous effort Unholy Divination had this very distinctive, yet subtle seafaring theme, I’m feeling something else this time: old tales of devil’s trickery, evil men, headless dudes on horses, witches, and other classical horror stuff.
My brain’s subconsciously making linkages to Carach Angren, Saille and Advent Sorrow, for all of these have got this sort of feel that takes me back either into the tales of the Brothers Grimm or any Tim Burton movie that has Johnny Depp in it, only then truly nightmarish. Compared to Unholy Divination the earlier mentioned skull splittery isn’t as brutal anymore though, as instead the songs have been blessed with more suspense to keep the fear and tension up, potentially even more paralyzing than before.
The EP’s opener, Repulsed by the Sun (see below, turn up the volume a bit), lays it down as it’s going to be straight away, both title and music: this isn’t going to be lighthearted. Classical instruments – or rather emulations thereof – are employed extensively, but it’s primarily the tremolo-picked guitars in the intro section that bring darkness to the ears. Thankfully the band refrains from soaking everything with tremolo-picking and manage to paint lightlessness with thundering riffs and chord progressions equally well. Still it’s the use of glockenspiels, harps (?), strings and whatnot that are like a crunchy burnt cherry on top of the pitch-black tar tart. An occasional guitar solo may appear in neo-classical style and depict more despair and drama.
It’s the release’s closing song A Fallen Symbol of Hope that is probably my favorite. It’s definitely not, but it has a certain type of peace about it. Like there’s finally some acceptance of agony. Core contributor to that: a more than usually melodic bridge section with cleansing lead lines.
Descriptive as I’ve tried to be, one thing remains unclear about the EP: is it good? To which I’d like to reply “Yes, very!”. It’s that plain and simple.
Symphonic Blackened Death is what it says on these guys’ business card. Where with their previous release, Unholy Divination, we also added in the ‘Brutal’ denominator, Pray for Damnation is definitely what it says on the business card. At the expense of the EP’s brutality, the band has this time focused more on the black and symphonic elements, resulting in a more subtle, more classically-driven sauce of evil. Don’t be fooled though, it may still kill the cockroaches, mice and other vermin in your walls. If the music isn’t already, the stench will be heart-stopping.
My Grade: 8.5/10
Buy this when:
- you’re into tale-telling symphonics in your Metal
- some scare tactics and robust, acid and violent Blackened Death don’t scare you away