Truent - Through The Vale Of Earthly Torment
Canada’s Truent have been active since 2012 but have only now finally gotten their first full length album to let fans hear, and it is a groove metal masterpiece. While not quite Pantera or Soulfly legendary, “Through The Vale of Earthly Torments” is a whirlwind of death metal inspired pace with tons of chugging melody, Throwdown esque groove, and even a bit of deathcore inspired breakdowns for a solid album that takes a bunch of sub genres of metal, blends them together, and cohesively spits out a list of tracks that infectiously keep listeners wanting to stick around to the end. Maybe part of this is due to the new addition of a different vocalist and guitarist, but the result should be very satisfying.
Compared to the previous Eps the sound is a little tighter and shy away from the typical thrash/ groove hybrid that they started out to be, so the difference is a welcome and mature surprise. ‘Blood and Dust’ opens with some acoustic notes before exploding into a chugging metalcore/ groove metal style that can be compared to Sylosis or Monuments. Its thick and a little djenty but definitely solid groove metal. The riffs are a little basic but the vocals seem to have evolved beyond the usual thrash/ groove bark; there’s death metal roars in there too. ‘Usurper Of The Sky’ is the big hit and surprise of the album for the additional use of clean vocals which may be a bit alienating in the same way when Whitechapel first used them on ‘Bring Me Home’ from “Mark of the Blade” (look how that turned out for them….) so Truent could very well head in that direction as well, but who knows as this is the only track with them. Regardless, it helps make it a highlight of the album and enhances their scope of metal.
‘Silk And Bone’ is a bit more back to the formula fans know Truent for. Fast licks and more of a thrash groove hybrid, this can be compared to definitely faster Sylosis, but with still a bit of a mid paced chug to it and a very groove driven solo to boot. It’s about here that the album starts to stale a little bit as the tracks tend to follow the same formula. ‘The Last Hunt’ is a little more metalcore but still at heart thrash groove with not much to deviate from previous one.
‘This Verdant Coil’ is pretty much the same; anthemic driven riffs but again pretty basic groove metal that has been heard before from these guys. Things finally shake up a bit with ‘In the Mire’ which is a very brief instrumental, but proggy and almost Opeth-ian with a complete deviation from what Truent has done so far. While the respite might come off as filler, it just seems to be a glimpse at what Truent could expand on and become stronger with. ‘Scathe of Branches’ jumps back into safer waters though with more groove/ deathcore inspired riffs and vocal roars, which unfortunately falls right back into sounding like ‘The Last Hunt’ with a little early Trivium influence in the riffs and how the vocals are more screamed vs throaty roars.
Finally the album closes on ‘Damned To The Deep’ which takes a basic groove formula and capitalizes on the best elements. The foot stomping/ head banging riffs cannot be denied and while it tends to come off as a ‘early Whitechapel radio hit’ it works wonders for the groove genre. The anthemic drive of the guitars and vocals are sure to make this a show favorite, and the multi pronged vocal approach showcases more depth for the band versus some of the more one sided tracks that earlier work has shown. There are even some slam death brees in there so the surprises don’t quit just yet.
Overall, this whole record is a solid roller coaster for the most part. The middle of the album does tend to feel like a hill that takes too long to climb but the rest is just a corkscrew of an adrenaline ride that leaves little room for rest. Truent hits hard out the gates on “Through The Vale of Earthly Torment” for a very sweet ride that almost any groove metal fan can enjoy, and hopefully more is to come after this successful debut.
4 / 5 STARS