If you’re anything like me, you have a specific love/hate relationship with radio-friendly hard rock. If you’re reading this site, how can’t you? More often than not, it’s too predictable, derivative, or generic to offer any surprise. By its very nature it’s usually dry, uninspired, or just fucking corny. But when it’s engaging, when there’s actual intrigue lurking somewhere in there, when the hooks set so deep you somehow find yourself reeling yourself in? Ooh boy… Yeah, that’s some true alchemy. Those clumsy elements evolve into curiosities and missteps that can be forgiven. It’s with this notion in mind that I find London’s TrYangle. Now, I’m not here to peg them as the next “big” anything, nor do I seek to imply that there’s something lesser about their brand of addictive, deceptively mellow rock jams. Instead, I’m just here to spout off some good news: this is a uniquely catchy hard rock band worth your damn time (after all, this article is titled “Hey! Listen to TrYangle!” so you should’ve seen this coming). In a perfect world, mainstream radio would find room to squeeze in a few of Wolf’s tracks as they mesh delectably heady grooves and spacious jams with some familiar radio rock feels. Let’s get into it.
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At nearly nine minutes, opener “Howlin’” isn’t quite the fiery lead-off single that you may be expecting. Instead, it (along with most of Wolf) is tempered with spacy reverb and delay, aqueous bass lines, and buoyant, punchy drumming. I’m reminded of Jesse Leach’s grungy Seemless finding common ground with post-Jupiter Cave In, plus a healthy dose of intricate, percolating Latin flair. It’s apparent (thankfully) that songwriting comes first; every track establishes its own identity and throws in enough curveballs and proggy syncopating tinges to warrant revisiting, and the hooks are more of a swirling melodic suggestion than they are repetitive, poppy earworms. There’s a smattering of djent-y, mosh-ready polyrhythms placed throughout the record, which somehow find a way to play nice with slinky slide guitars and a little bit of dumbfire riffing. Everything is super rhythmic and groovy, so much so that the vocals often feel a little wonky. But even as those vocal moments begin to settle in (at times cumbersomely) and feel like an afterthought, they also develop a peculiarity and piquing weirdness that almost makes them catchy (see “A Grinding Throne Gathers No Moss” or “Blood-hatred”). Still, it’s the jammy stoner rock structure of Wolf’s eleven tracks keep the traditional hooks at bay, taking upon airy Failure-esque melodies to compliment jarring riffing, beefy grooves, and bluesy or proggy droves (“Always Shining”).
To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure what bands like Chevelle, A Perfect Circle, or Breaking Benjamin have sounded like since the early 2000s, but I have a very strong hunch that TrYangle could whet the appetites of those who cut their teeth on that era of “elevated” radio rock (“Move” or “All” would make for a familiar introduction). This London trio’s variety of hard rock has a similar disposition, but with a brainier, looser design; they eschew friendly arrangements in favor of moody world building and keen changes of direction. The vocals are decent, too, certain to appease the “ew, no screaming” types, but not likely to win anyone over lyrically. In spite of some less-than-perfect presentation, the moments that click feel sooo good. The quirky moments (of which there are many) don’t always satisfy (“I.e.”), but a lot of them definitely grow. It might take some effort, but I encourage you to give it a… try. Wolf is available now for purchase and streaming on Bandcamp.