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Whether you view Travel Now Journey Infinitely as an entirely new prospect with a (now uncertain) future, or just a repository for the more unhinged ideas of its Enslaved members, Trinacria is one of those curious one-offs that I frankly don't hear enough of coming from one of my favorite metal scenes. Part of that is because a lot of its longstanding forerunners (Ulver, Arcturus, Dodhseimsgard, even Burzum) are themselves extremely bizarre and show no signs of wearing down; unapologetic in smudging their roots with all manner of bewildering, risky ideas. But there's not really another act of the litter, to my knowledge, that sounds quite like this strange collaboration between Ivar, Grutle, Ice Dale and a number of other Norwegian musicians hailing from lesser known acts. Travel Now Journey Infinitely might lack for the superior songwriting of its progenitors, but this is certainly an album, given enough space for the listener's immersion, which I've found myself occasionally returning to through the years, if for little more than just to see if I can fill in any more pieces in the puzzle of its very existence.
The album is usually described as 'black metal', and to an extent you'll have that in the raspier vocal presence and the fuzzier riffs redolent of post-imprisonment Burzum and others who use dissonant, earthen tones to flay bare the roots of that subgenre. But there's also a heavy whiff of the rugged blackened thrash which fed itself into that medium to begin with, coupled with loads of feedback, noises both acoustic and electronic, and a more tribal, steady style of drumming which is felt most in the more repetitive, pensive cuts like opener "Turn-Away" where the guy is pounding away a steady rock beat and loads of drum-circle like toms beneath a droning, minimalistic guitar line and all manner of creepy whispers and glitchy noises which persist even through some of the deepest of Grutle's torn barks that I've encountered. Granted, this is one of the loosest 'structured' tunes when it comes to the variety of riffing...others like "The Silence" and "Make No Mistake" are more bloodthirsty beatings, but I'd almost say that the six cuts of the record are pretty evenly divided between the more familiar, to reel in the metal crowd which followed Enslaved up to that point, and the experimental, which is usually manifest in longer, more mellow and atmospheric compositions.
Examples of the latter include "Breach", another droning, tense piece smothered in thundering and tribal percussion, prog-punk or dissonant DC-hardcore style guitars that work exceedingly well with Grutle's growls and all the echoed, manic whispers and scummy electronic whirrs that permeate the record's strange sort of postmodern darkness. Or "Endless Roads" with its cleaner, muted guitars and distant noises which inevitably transform into these lush guitar passages over which the vocals are almost like a hypnotic spoken word style. Though there is a female vocalist here, her voice itself is really saved up for the titular finale, a more grandiose epic in which she hovers around Grutle like some angelic, ethereal shadow; for the rest of the record she is contributing other scratchy screeches, noises, keys and effects. But that one song is just so mesmerizing, as it shifts between paradigms of soothing seriousness and batshit spasms redolent of earlier portions of the album. Possibly the one tune here that might have been 'worthy' of an actual Enslaved record in the past decade, had they chosen to include it there.
Trinacria is indeed pretty compelling, not so much as the main band, yet enough that I kind of hoped they wouldn't give this project up entirely. As far as I can tell its fate is currently a coin toss, but I just find the music intriguing and unpredictable enough that I would love to follow its course straight into the unknown, and could easily see them reigning alongside avant-garde Norse champs like Virus and Ulver. The production is excellent; every little detatched sound rich enough without drowning the guitars or drums. Grutle is in fine form, in fact I'd make an unpopular argument that his harsh vocals here are the equal or better of any particular Enslaved album, even though the riffs and the song construction itself seems more free-form and lacks the same balance of style and impact you will find in the more proggy records these guys are up to. I've just developed such a level of admiration and trust for these musicians that I feel like they cannot fail me, in any capacity; I will likely never tire of what they vomit out my speakers, and this is further evidence.
Trinacria is like a less black metal version of Enslaved, but this side-project is still just as experimental as the same band that released such boundary-pushing albums as “Vertebrae,” “Ruun,” and “Isa.” “Travel Now Journey Infinitely” is in line with Enslaved’s recent style of being unconventional but atmospheric. Not recognizably belonging to any specific metal sub-genre, the album is an interesting blend of black metal musicality, death metal aggression, and industrial noise. Trinacria’s debut, because of its association with Enslaved, doesn’t quite have its own identity, but there’s nothing wrong with a talented group of musicians giving fans more of what they love, while adding a slight nuance to the formula.
“Travel Now Journey Infinitely” takes its time with the opening track. “Turn-Away” establishes a repetitive pattern of composition that, although it isn’t really adhered to for the entirety of the release, you can still hear similar cohesive forces at work in the other tracks. One element starts the piece and maintains itself throughout, while more and more layers are added on in order to create a sense of tension that leads to an eventual climax. In the case of “Turn-Away,” the drums roll in the same pattern through much of the song, and the other instruments lend a broody repetitiveness that dissolves into a noisy climax.
The production here is about as clean as it gets, but the noisy sounds are still overwhelming at times. Assuming the quality of static, these sounds are certainly meant to wash the music in a layer of chaos. There aren’t ever sections where the industrial squeaks are left completely to their own devices. Instead, they just add flavor to the album’s lengthy tracks, albeit sometimes too much flavor, and help maintain dynamic transitions throughout each song.
However, sometimes these noises either go into predictable territory or are too overpowering. In the beginning of “The Silence,” machine-like sounds serve as transitions between phrases of the same stringy riff. Every time they appear, they halt the music and, for the first two minutes of the song, come across as needlessly predictable. This just a nitpick, but it’s worse when these sounds go full blast. Like most of the other tracks, “The Silence” takes a cacophonous turn when feedback and static groan over blastbeats. These sort of sections allow for the tracks to be more dynamic, but they’re difficult to listen to. As much as “Travel Now Journey Infinitely” is well-produced, it’s still a fairly abrasive listen, for better or worse.
The musicians who appear on this release are really at the top of their games, though, because none of the tracks feel overly lengthy. Like in Enslaved’s newer albums, Kjellson’s vocals have an edgy but accessible manner to them, but Kjellson occasionally takes them to deeper, growling registers here. The album is altogether very bass-heavy, and Lien’s contribution gives the more rock-inspired sections that necessary punch. The guitarists and the drummer are adept at changing their intensity to suit the emotion of a particular section, while the noise programmers are better off when they restrain themselves.
I get the feeling that “Travel Now Journey Infinitely” is trying to be monumental, but it doesn’t quite succeed, mainly because of its trivialized status as the work of a side-project. The title track ends the album with a huge, soaring composition of rising female vocals and emotionally-charged tremolo. It’s all very big, but whether or not Trinacria’s debut can stand on its own feet is questionable. If Trinacria weren’t just a side-project of well-established musicians, the album might have its own identity, but you also might not bother picking it up. With as powerful as the music is, however, the question might even be irrelevant. Even if it does inevitably feed off the fame of its creators, “Travel Now Journey Infinitely” is a unique release that will attract fans across many different sub-genres of metal.
I am a big fan of Enslaved, and Grutle Kjellson and Ivar Bjorson of Enslaved are founding members of this project. Along with several other members from Audrey Horne(heavy metal/rock) and Fe-Mail(noisecore). And this band is exactly what you think it would be: a blend of rock, black metal, and noisecore.
Their debut album "Travel Now, Journey Infinitely", seems to have an identity crisis. Before the album was released, Trinacria had a few songs from live shows that did not make it to the album. Plain and simple, the live songs were better.
A natural assumption is that a noisecore/blackmetal band would go for the cold, dark, droning, hopeless sound that would be appropriate for the blending of these styles, which the live songs were. This album though, in its entirety, leaves you feeling like they completely forgot their purpose for forming this project.
Most songs consist of just one riff a piece, with several change ups here and there. And while the riffs aren't particularly brilliant, they are effective in a droning style. The only real FAILURE of this album is the noise. Instead of a cold, ambient noisy production, the members of Fe-Mail seemingly just sampled noises from their own project. There is no fresh element to the noise, nothing to enhance or broaden the atmosphere of the music.
One last complaint is Grutle's vocals. They are EXACTLY the same as Enslaved's vocals. The fact that he didn't try anything new or experimental with is vocals makes me think this was a half-assed and poorly thought out album really just to kill time between the albums of their priority projects (Enslaved, Audrey Horne, Fe-Mail)
With all of this said, my conclusion is that even though this album falls short of quality in many ways, it still isn't so bad. Certain tracks fulfill their mission, such as the title track, which has a very melodic and epic atmosphere.
All in all, I have to say pass on this album, unless you really don't care about money, and just wait for Trinacria to develop their sound, and mature in their mission.