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I found out about these guys when I went on a big sludge / post-metal journey. I was scanning through big names like Isis and Pelican before landing on some lesser known bands, and these guys were one that emerged from the tide of the search function. One name stuck out, though – Haste The Day, the Christian metalcore band that will shortly be breaking up (as of writing this). That band never did a thing for me, even during my metalcore days as I was getting into metal (~2004/2005). Trenches founder, vocalist Jimmy Ryan, was the previous vocalist in Haste The Day. I can remember hearing Haste The Day’s Burning Bridges years ago and thinking nothing of his performance.
Moving forward, we have Trenches, which to my ears is everything Haste The Day weren’t… and more. Ryan’s group of misfits created an album that, regardless of lyrical themes (they were never printed), I can proudly enjoy. Isis and Pelican I’m big fans of, but Trenches with one album do just as well while remaining unique. This isn’t a nautical blast of tempos and riffs like The Ocean’s heavier material, but more like Isis’ mellow moments with post-hardcore. Listeners of sludge or post-anything will be doing themselves a huge favor listening to this album. In short, this is a highly melodic assault on the human character.
Ryan sings with morose cleans, spiteful exhales, mutilated screams, and coarse yells (think Aaron Turner for that last one). These styles are professionally executed, fit when they appear, and contain a tone of anguish like the album. There’s always a pessimistic tone, yet also a sense of longing and hope brought on by the atmosphere. The drumming helps to get listeners through such a gloomy ordeal, and thankfully the thick kit never lets up on the pounding, pummeling, or pacing. No tin or thin chops on this kit with snare, toms, hat, cymbals, or bass drums; the whole set is intense.
Over fifty minutes is a long length of time for an album, but for sludge it’s more or less par for the course. The track lengths for the ten songs featured on here range from three minutes to over ten minutes, and all of it is worthy of being heard. By in large any track and be picked out of the bunch to be heard, and this is the form of listening I take since some songs are way catchier than others. Songs like “Call It Correct”, “Sacrament”, “Trip The Landmine”, the first half of “Cornered”, and especially “Pathways” exemplify the best in infectious riffs, clean guitar ambiance, and melodic vocals. These songs are more than the sum of their parts.
The other tracks, short and long, carry the same weight, but they exist to serve the collective. The Tide Will Swallow Us Whole caters to both those looking for a full album experience and to those wishing to get their immediate fill of bliss or brutality. The modern production job is richly textured, with every instrument sounding vibrant, beefy, and ferocious as fuck. Guitars slurp with enormous riffs as if they were tsunamis like on “Bittersweet”, “Ocean Currents”, or “Call It Correct”. The bass backing is luxurious and dense, with every pluck emitting a sea of impenetrable vibrations. Fierceness intermingles with cunning atmosphere, basking everything in ecstasy – hear “Pathways” to get the best out of this experience.
Fans of Haste The Day are more than welcomed to give this a go, and those looking for sludge related music would be retarded to pass this up. At this point, The Tide Will Swallow Us Whole is the band’s only album, so take it for everything it offers. Also as of now, the band will be releasing a second album, so whenever that comes around, it’ll be twice as much to love. This is an easy album to get into and will surely be a hard one to forget.