Now this is a weird one. I don’t know what to call these guys. Experimental death metal with industrial influences? Hooked already? Good. These guys are pretty underground from what I gather. They’re from The Netherlands (so metal), and they make weird music. Trivmvirate is their third album – released in 2008 – and I still don’t know what the hell is going on in it. It blows my mind every time I listen to it, and I’m still not sure if I’ve uncovered everything that’s going on in here. It’s heavy, it’s weird, and it’s…catchy? Let’s take a look at it. Be warned though, this album is pretty much designed to piss off the death metal elitists and confuse the dilettantes to oblivion, so make sure you have your wits about you when you delve in.

“Deus Ex Machina” opens with an electronic groove, which should immediately put a frown on any elitist’s face. The electronica is joined by Latin chanting, and the guitars come in with the drums, setting the mood to “calm before the storm”, and after the teasing is over, we get some good fast death metal riffing with brutal vocals. The production is very timid, which might be a turnoff for most, but it works within their sound, and you realize that as the electronic elements come over the death metal riffing. A heavy and muddy death metal tone wouldn’t have allowed for different sounds. Soon afterwards, the chants come back, and you get a weird mix of death metal, electronica and chants. Then you get… brutal vocals played through vocoder and church organs. Yes, weird. But it is weirdly brilliant, because it all works. It’s not tacky like your generic scenecore band that decides to add on autotune and dubstep; this really works.

The lyrics are about some mythological deity, scowling at his believers. So the chants work with the theme of the song, and so do the organs. By the way, the time signatures and meters in the playing are quite odd too. This isn’t something you can get in one sitting, you have to pay attention and keep coming back. Halfway through, the song breaks down into electronica and chants again, and afterwards we get a super slow oldschool death metal riff, again with vocodered brutal vocals. Gothic organs too. I honestly am amazed by how <i>good</i> this song is, in spite of all the completely batshit crazy unrelated things that are going on. 3/4 of the way through, there’s lead playing reminiscent of Slayer (completely atonal). I know, if you’re a typical death metal person you’re probably bubbling in rage right now, and if you don’t like weird music like this you probably think I’m crazy. If you’re still here, well, it’s just the beginning.

“Wrath of the Ba’ath” starts with a weird chant, and then the oldschool death metal guitars quickly come in. The lyrics seem mythological again, this time they sound like something off of a Nile album, and the riffing is reminiscent too, except for the occasional electronic elements thrown in, obviously. Yep. There’s also talk of Saddam Hussain, Kurdistan. I have no idea. I think it’s political, but there’s also mythology. Halfway through, the ridiculously catchy crowd comes in, which sounds like something off a Soulfly record. In a good way; I like Soulfly. Some might not like Soulfly in their oldschool death metal, followed by an electronic “solo”, but I do. And chant: “Wrath! Wrath! Wrath! of the Ba’ath! Wah-da! Hurriya! Isht’rikaya! Halabja!” I’m going crazy. And yes, this is death metal, it’s not tacky, it’s not cheesy. This song is relatively normal, so enjoy your sanity while you can.

“Kindertodeslied” opens with a conversation in German, and from what I understand it’s a Nazi soldier talking to the Fuhrer. Now, I’m not very knowledgeable in electronic music, but I think what follows is breakbeat, accompanied by a child saying something in German. Which transitions into a huge death metal riff backed by keyboards. I believe, from what I gather by putting the German lyrics through Google Translate, this song is about how the Nazis brainwashed the kids to follow their ideology. The first verse is some sort of Nazi chant, sang with screeching vocals over a slow, heavy riff. The vocals are constantly joined by cheers and chants, presumably by the German soldiers. Then you get something weirder. The riffing continues, with someone speaking in German, and electronic elements. I know this sounds terrible, but it’s brilliant. You can’t imagine how smooth and well written the songs are, and how well every element fits. Even the following section where kids chant over the death metal riffs, of course with some weird electronic thing going on in the background. This album will take what you expect, put it through a meat grinder, and then run over the meat grinder with a truck, and shoot the truck driver. And it will all make sense to you. To some extent. Now, the guitars and drums aren’t super imaginative, but the rest of the weird crazy music makes up for this.

“Master of The Bryansk Forests” opens with something thats sounds like battle music from a fantasy movie, and then we get some guitar and drum action on top of that. The vocals come in, and the lyrics are yet again a weird mashup of politics and mythology, talking about “Anti-Soviet, pro-German Werewolves” and such. This is more of a metal song, with not too many weird elements in between, except for the movie music on top of it, and the accompanying sound effects. Sometimes the metal side of the music is repressed by the “film music” part, but other than that it’s not too weird. Consider this a break for your sanity, as long as you don’t look at the crazy lyrics.

“M.M.F.D” is an instrumental, and it is fairly traditional riffing with a heavy keyboard presence. There are orchestral sounds, some female voices, stringed instruments, bells. It’s actually pretty epic and interesting to listen to, and it is the last chance you get before the insanity of the next song.

“I Spew Thee out of My Mouth” begins with a buildup of the guitars and drums, with an overdub of a weird voice. Soon afterwards, you get a fast riff that keeps getting supplemented by keyboard elements, and the vocals come in. This is pretty good metal, especially a minute or so later where it gets quite intense, and the weird keyboard voices add to the tension of the riffs. Near the halfway point of the song, the guitars give more room to the keyboards, and the song changes pace for a while, until going back into full gear. This kind of “slow down, then go faster” element keeps repeating until the end of the song, getting more and more intense each time. By the way, the lyrics seem to be on full blown mythology mode by now, or so it seems. There seems to be some sort of Christian theme, citing Revelations. I don’t know how that ties in with the other songs. I don’t know anything anymore.

“Demigod”, not to be mixed with the Behemoth song with the same title, is good old death metal in the style of Nile. Of course, near the middle, they spice it up with tribal percussions and keyboards. 3/4 of the song it goes into full blown Nile mode. These guys are really something different, especially for when this album came out.

The final track, “Den Ensomme Nordens Dronning”, in typical Monolith Deathcult fashion, starts off quite weird. There’s a chorus saying something in Latin (presumably), strings, and then suddenly the music comes in with bells and horns (literally). Then there’s the trademark evil growls, followed by clean vocals, operatic vocals, the whole shebang. The song has so much in it, from black metal to orchestral parts, blast beats to very catchy clean sections. This song is a truly weird masterpiece, and it closes what is a weird and unique album perfectly.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_Gsr1BK0Jo]

Basically, this is one huge under-appreciated, weird, crazy masterpiece. It’s not easy listening, but it’s very rewarding. It might blow your mind, or warp your psyche. Either way, you should check it out. The album is awesome, the band name is awesome (who doesn’t like Monoliths?), and the music is one-of-a-kind. What more do you want?

– NT

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