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Tridentifer - Left to Rot - 93%

Edmund Sackbauer, September 27th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2016, CD, Voodoo Chamber Records

While bands like Revel in Flesh or Deserted Fear have managed to become household names in the worldwide community there are a lot of fantastic bands from Germany that would deserve more attention than they actually get. One of those bands are Tridentifer and after having been deeply impressed by their recently released third full length “Under the Sign of the Trident” I needed to go back and also check out the predecessor “Left to Rot”. Just by reading that album name and looking at the cover artwork one can get a pretty clear picture of what to expect.

The basic riffs are often fast and aggressive but sometimes also slow and stoic. The chords have a pretty simple and straight-forward feel to them most of the time but there are some cleverly implemented variations of the main themes. The lead guitar parts create a lot of atmosphere acting in the background for the most part delivering gloomy and sometimes even melancholic harmonies. Of course there are some traditional soloing parts but those are kept compact so that they never distract from the track itself. Compared to their latest output I got the feeling that “Left to Ro” is not only influenced by the traditional European school of old school death metal but also took inspiration from some US classics.

The tempo is kept in mid-tempo in most songs with a few well-placed groovier and even doomy parts. Those slower sections as well as some dark sounding samples are great for building a sinister atmosphere. Often those parts are accompanied by addicting short solos before the stoic main riffs kick back in. The drumming is on point keeping the tempo with ease and adding some nice fills without ever getting to chaotic. The guys have a feeling for clever songwriting knowing when to ramp up the intensity and when to take out the speed and relax a little bit.

The songs are cleverly constructed with the right balance of straight forward and steamrolling parts and some more sophisticated pieces lending each track its own character. Tempo and rhythm changes can be found in each song but they are placed with a great feeling for the timing and the flow of the album.

The vocals have been done by another singer compared to “Under the Sign of the Trident” and this fact is quite noticeable. While on the recent output the growling is pretty deep and comparable to Dave Hunt or Dave Ingram they are more in the Martin van Drunen kind of way on “Left to Rot”. I like both approaches and both singers have done a great job so everything is fine with regard to that.

The production is pretty much flawless with the guitars and drums sounding powerful and punchy. The mix is perfectly clear making all the details and different elements easily audible. That being said I think that the guitar tone might be a bit “buzzier” on “Under the Sign of the Trident” underlining the slightly different approach here. Overall both records are absolutely amazing and I really need to check out the older albums by Tridentifer as well.

Supposed to, and therefore left to, rot - 81%

demonomania, November 18th, 2017

Tridentifer are immediately recognizable as a third-tier death metal band. They are not selling out arenas and getting signed to huge labels, they are not "the next big thing" or even "up and coming." Instead, they are more akin to the zombies of which they sing - doomed forever to trudge around in the underground.

However, a band's location on the death metal popularity spectrum is not necessarily an indication of how good they are. Sure, Tridentifer may never be joined by Ace Ventura onstage, but they do their retro-old-school death metal with skill and catchiness that cannot be denied. The songs are mid-paced to slow slabs of punishment, not afraid to slip in a spooky keyboard or twisting lead, but avoiding any detours into "progressive" territory as if their death depended on it. The vocalist fits right into that somewhat higher-pitched but not shrieking death growl sweet spot. The fact that the vocals occasionally remind me of Chris Barnes, "Swarm!" era, should not scare you away. In fact, that Torture Killer album is not a bad reference for what these guys are up to here, only instead of 4 good songs the whole disc is worthwhile. The production accentuates the heaviness of the guitars without reaching Vallenfyre levels of studio assistance. And the intros and outros and interludes are all perfect, setting the atmosphere of a sinister assault from a moldering graveyard without overstaying their welcome.

So if it is an unchallenging, groovy death metal album that could have been released at any point in the last nearly 30-something years you seek, look no further. I'd take these Deutsche marks over something like Undergang any day, as the songs are actually well written and memorable despite being nothing new. Good stuff, and I look forward to more of their transmissions from the underground in the future.