In Trenches – Sol Obscura (EP)
With the demise in 2012 of Thrice, Alexisonfire and Underoath, it would be understandable to conclude that the post-hardcore movement has finally run its course, these being, along with Thursday, the best and most ambitious latter day exponents of a genre that had otherwise deteriorated during the 2000s into a rut of rampant commercialism, and something wholly unrecognisable from its raw and dissonant origins. However, by stripping away its excesses, Melbourne outfit In Trenches, which comprises, amongst others, guitarist Kevin Cameron of I Killed The Prom Queen fame and vocalist Ben Coyte from the now defunct Day of Contempt, have, with their second EP Sol Obscura, offered a challenging and insightful reinterpretation of the way this style of music can be played. Released in March 2012, and roughly translated as meaning ‘hidden sun’, Sol Obscura is as dark as its name suggests, and contains five tracks of virulent and uncompromising post-hardcore that is aesthetically gritty, oppressively discordant and utterly devoid of vocal melody. Beginning with the slow and sludgy ‘Beneath‘ before unleashing the fury of ‘Hollow Heart‘ and ‘An Impending Collapse‘, the EP is also peppered with post rock/metal build-ups and rhythmically complex riffs, the best of which can be heard on the eight minute closer, ‘Silhouettes‘. Furthermore, the production is imprecise and grimy, which enhances the EP’s overall rawness, as does the decision to hold Coyte’s harsh vocals back in the mix. Musically dense and pessimistic in outlook, Sol Obscura is, despite its relatively brief length, a fatiguing listening experience, but one that is well worth the effort. Hopefully it is also a sign of longer things to come!