One overlap between genres that doesn’t get enough attention is that of thrash and power metal. Way back in the 80’s, these two genres were born almost simultaneously, although their path from heavy metal and their sensibilities were a bit different. However, at their core, the two genres still have a lot in common: a penchant for fast riffs, over the top choruses and a melding of aggression and melody. If you throw in progressive elements, the lines blur even further as both genres tend to modify themselves in similar ways. Think Blind Guardian‘s early career and its translation into power metal or Vektor‘s more recent escapades; are the sounds of the one that much different than of that other? Yes, probably, but they also carry a lot in common.
Enter Trigger, a young band hailing from Australia, the land of too much sun and great metal. Cryogenesis, released way back when in July of 2017, is chock full of the blurring of the lines between thrash and power that we referenced in the opening paragraph. I pounced on this album once realizing it wasn’t just a power metal album with impressive hooks in tow but also a science fiction conceptual epic. Under eventual and multiple listens, it quickly became apparent that Cryogenesis was a good album and an impressive effort for a second release but also an album which exemplifies many of the pitfalls of its sub-genre. At its core, Cryogenesis is motivated by big choruses and fast riffing but suffers from a muddled middle section, leaving the listener yearning for more.
Initially, everything looks great. Opening track “The Forge of Hephaestus” is a damn joy; past the string heavy intro and an impressive opening shout, the riffs are blisteringly fast. Think old Metallica fast. The vocals are big and full, with the chorus being one of the best ear worms on the album, ushered in by well used gang vocals and shouts. It does exactly what a chorus in the genre should do; things slow down on the instrumental side, allowing the vocals space to belt out moving and emotional passages a la Trivium. A great little guitar bridge follows it, tying the middle of the track off and leading us towards the outro. The followup, in the form of the second track “Dead Sun”, turns the arena metal dial a little higher, creating a track that’s a little less aggressive but catchier as a result, with even bigger choruses and bridges and a great use of strings.
However, things quickly fall apart. By the time “Crowned” ends, the fourth track, the formula is all too clear and little change comes over it during the album’s run time. The next track, “Tethered to the Tide” is the last one on the album to leave a deep mark; the rest of the album, five more tracks, represents repetitions on the themes and tools presented on the first half of the album. Which might not be an incredibly bad thing, since the basic formula works and works well. But after “Tethered to the Tide”, which has a Symphony X like swagger, it’s a bit disappointing. There was a lot of potential in there that seems to have gone unrealized during the rest of the album. It definitely still gets the job done, serving up chorus after furious riff after chorus but it overstays its welcome and ultimately suffers in rotation. However, for the time in which it lasts, Cryogenesis contains a fair few good segments for fans of either power and thrash metal; hopefully the next release can fully realize the talent hinted at here.
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Cryogenesis was released on July 18th, 2017. You can get the album via the band’s Bandcamp, linked above.