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Solid Output from a Side-Project - 81%

PigfaceChristus, June 23rd, 2010

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.