Trench Warfare finally grace the world with their first full length. Building from the potential of their demo and split, the band finally manage to fuse their War metal with elements of Black and Death metal into creating a highly enjoyable listen that carries a few more subtleties than its aesthetic quality would allow one to assume.
Working primordially with Blasphemy like sequences of quickly shifting power chord sequences that are then complemented by some angular melodies in the style of Immolation. Occasional erratic solos come and go, functioning in Carcass bursts of noise. Drums maintain a barrage of sound through speed but varying the types of blast beats utilized with constant fills especially on the toms. Vocals are in the mid range Swedish style but when held for longer grunts show a screaming quality similar to John Tardy in his prime. Bass is distorted and completely absorbed into the guitar tone. “Astral Projection” opts for a slower style based on a simple pulsating rhythm that alternates with the more typical riffing on this album. There is an obvious digital quality to this album but the natural performances of all members in conjunction with the high amount of distorsion make this an easily listenable album that conveys pure anger.
Arrangements are based on short riff cycles that slowly progress through minor variations on the riff endings. Each riff has a motif that remains unchanged while the secondary motifs constantly change and sometimes aren’t repeated. The band push each idea to its limit before then introducing an other idea and applying the same principle or sometimes transitioning quickly between secondary melodies until returning to a variation of the first melody. On pieces like “Axioms” there are some excellent harmonized passages that use chromatic and dissonant intervals but still follow each other in ascending and descending melodically as to not disorient the listener. While the arrangements have an identity, it seems that the band is far too focused with the idea of raw anger and there aren’t enough shifts in mood. The riffs transfer very similar information even though there is a lot of derivation from the original Blasphemy base but little build up in tension as each part seeks to be the summit of the composition. “New Lord” breaks away from this with a slow/fast dichotomy which brings the song towards a fast and brutal climax but moments like these are too few.
Trench Warfare eradicate the War metal movement through ingenious composition and an excellent ear for intervals which allows them to create some incredible riffs through tired clichés. An album that oozes power and strength during every second of its runtime but loses dynamism as a result. Hatred Prayer lives up to its name and offers a very well composed conjuration of anger but it needs something more to bring to life that anger. The band should look towards Legion for ideas but it seems that the band are only capable of improving.