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A metropole of incest where the fornicators rule. - 85%

Diamhea, September 24th, 2014

What a change for the better! Trivmvirate is bound to elicit a menagerie of head-scratching amongst the more traditional crowd, but to be candid, we need more bands like The Monolith Deathcult, who have no qualms about mixing several far-removed and seldom-exploited genre pairings with stellar returns. In short, this record extracts the positive attributes from the band's earlier, decidedly more brutal death metal outputs like The White Crematorium (namely the massive production values and knuckle-cracking guitar tone) and slaps it all together with a proclivity for the avant-garde and abstract. It may not gel in a fully coherent manner on paper, but truly comes alive in practice.

To call Trivmvirate "symphonic" would be something of a misnomer, as these Dutchmen have no qualms about letting the guitars do the talking. However, between a variance of swirling tremolos and toppling note progressions one can find an abundance of electronic elements used in an ultimately refreshing manner. One minute you have repeating audio samples that sound closer to what one would expect from more garish industrial acts, the next the scope intensifies to the point of mental prostration. Excessive track length grants the band some flexibility in this regard, and they take advantage of it by cranking up the atmosphere during the lulls between the more traditional action. What perhaps impresses me the most is how convincingly massive this all sounds once everything is paired together. "Deus Ex Machina" is a pretty good example of what we have going on here, belying its nine-plus minute runtime by ducking and weaving back and forth between imperial-sounding choirs and the dissonant hostility of the riffs.

The band veers dangerously close to Dimmu Borgir territory at times, like on "I Spew Thee Out of My Mouth," but the riffs are always bubbling right under the surface, and their presence is never necessarily lost on the listener. Perhaps most impressive is the closer, "Den ensomme Nordens dronning," which is the longest track here by quite a margin, but takes great advantage of the extra runtime by driving home the aforementioned striking nature of the paradigm being employed here. The atmosphere oftentimes takes the more occult path, like on "Wrath of the Ba'ath," which features a lot of layered chanting and fucking awesome lyrics. It is honestly rather hypnotizing at times, and the shock of the transition back to crushing death metal is one of the more stellar examples of aural hypothermia I have experienced this year.

There is little narrative consistency, perhaps due to the The Monolith Deathcult's lack of adherence to anything approaching the traditional. One moment they are yammering about World War II history (Dekker is a history teacher, I get it) and the next the band attempts working damp sorcery and theurgy on virgin ears through a combination of antediluvian themes. I prefer the latter, and while some of the lyrics are in German as well, I wish the band would just stick to the esoteric and arcane, which they honestly excel at. I can see a lot of individuals instinctively grouping this with other symphonic death metal acts like Rotting Christ and Septic Flesh, but The Monolith Deathcult are quite simply out in their own little world here on Trivmvirate, and I don't necessarily think I would want it any other way. This is an album best tackled in large chunks or at once, but "Demigod" is the most accessible track and the one to check out first if you are unsure of whether or not this is for you. I enjoyed virtually all of it though, as it doesn't come much more massive-sounding than this. One of the best examples of symphonic death metal out there, frankly.