01. Heic Noenum Pax
02. Prescription Of Crisis
03. Slave The World
04. Order Of The Labrinth
05. Insane Architect
06. Let The Clown Rise
07. I Was
08. The Worst Fiend
09. Raining Past

[Season of Mist]

Groove is hard to pull off. For many, like myself, it can easily make the difference between a good band and a great band and when you think of those groups that really ‘got it’ like Pantera, Gojira, Lamb Of God or Meshuggah, you’d be hard pushed to deny that groove has given us some of the most accessible while still respectable bands around. Enter Trepalium, who have been slogging away and mining groove for over a decade now to an unfortunately small audience. However, the times have changed, ever since the aforementioned Gojira kicked the door wide open, bands like Trepalium are front and center, flying the flag for the future of French metal and H.N.P is their latest attempt rising to the top of the stack.

H.N.P has a waft of fresh air about it — every track follows roughly the same formula but it’s one that ‘picks and chooses’ from a variety of bands. Imagine Pantera covering Morbid Angel‘s  ‘Where The Slime Live‘ or ‘God Of Emptiness‘ and you’re getting there, include rhythmic swagger à la early Meshuggah and even some elements of more modern and widely accepted acts and you’re pretty much spot on. It’s an interesting recipe that produces a range of results — ‘Insane Architect‘, for instance, is a mid-tempo shuffling stomper that never fails to entice even the slightest of head bobbing. Alongside it, ‘I Was‘ serves an equal purpose, while sounding a little more like an unheard session from Reinventing The Steel or The Great Southern Trendkill and the instrumental closing piece ‘Raining Past‘, while only lasting a disappointing two minutes (that’s what she said), gives the band plenty of room to experiment a little and produces some very accomplished work in both clean breaks and punishing riffs.

At the heart of it, there is nothing particularly wrong or offensive about anything on display, each track contains just enough great riffs and meandering to constitute something that is at least interesting. Unfortunately though, that is the exact problem sometimes, the emphasis on ‘just enough’. They’ve lost a lot of the ‘weirdness’ that permeated their previous release XIII, in favour of a more familiar and refined sound and sometimes you have to wonder whether it was to their detriment. ‘Let The Clown Rise‘ and the title track, in comparison to the rest of the material, seem to come and go without much to grab attention and while they don’t really constitute as filler, they don’t do enough to justify their own existence either. A few more choice cuts and a more selective slicer on the meatblock would’ve done them a world of good.

Despite it’s flaws, H.N.P is not to be scoffed at. You can’t really go wrong suckling at the teat of Trepalium for your fix of heavy groove and you could sure as hell do a lot worse.  It may not be the scorned, clown-ish weirdo it once was but the music has taken on a more mature sound that could easily appeal to a much larger audience and it would be more than satisfying to see such a hardworking band get the recognition they deserve.

Trepalium’s H.N.P gets…



– DL


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