Release date: 17 June 2022 Label: Self-release
Many metal fans tend to rely on name recognition alone, instead of seeking new acts on their merits. Such is the case with BEHEMOTH‘s Nergal in Me and That Man, a dark folk and Americana project. Similarly, look at Eyehategod‘s Mike IX Williams and Neurosis‘ Scott Kelly in Corrections House, an industrial metal supergroup. However, it is important to always look for fresh faces, especially the young up-and-comers who have a lot of technical skill despite lacking industry experience. Enter TRUENT, Vancouver-based thrash metal who started up when the members were all in high school and barely hit their teen years.
With a bit of a slow start–and who can blame them when starting so young–TRUENT have successfully made a name for themselves over the years. Doing it all DIY, this quintet self-released two EPs in 2017 and 2018 (Faith in the Forgotten and To End An Ancient Way of Life, respectively) that are both impressive. In support of the second EP, they have also done touring throughout Canada and even opened for big names in Canadian metal like Voivod and Archspire. After some delay, the group was able to hit the studio and now are ready to release their breakout album, Through The Vale of Earthly Torment.
Diverting from their usual hard-hitting sound, Blood and Dust opens the album with guitars playing along the scales in a particularly proggy way. Quickly enough, vocalist Roodenrys starts belting it out while Pancoust and Clark do heavy work on the guitars. Special attention should also be paid to Landry’s insane drums which contrast with the squealing guitars quite nicely. The previous’ softened ending is crushed by Usurper of the Sky and its melodic, rolling rhythm. This track is blazing fast but played with excellent precision, every note and drumbeat sustained to its necessary extent. Roodenrys also sounds incredible here, playing with cleaner vocals while Pancoust and Clark take turns tearing through their guitar strings.
Keeping it moving, Silk and Bone is sickeningly heavy, guitars and drums playing the same crushing beats. Roodenrys takes a bit of break during this track, letting the instruments have the floor, and it is much appreciated. Headbanging is definitely required here, and if played live, a mosh pit will surely form in under a minute. The Last Hunt is quick but refuses to let the beat die, upping the ante and daring the listener to try and keep still. Landry is the star here, making great use of triplets during vocal interludes, and becoming a true force of nature when under the guitars.
Halfway through, This Verdant Coil changes things up with its fluctuating beats. You can almost feel the music in your chest on this one, Roodenrys’ howls and shrieks absolutely overpowering. A brief pause from the instruments near the end followed by them moving in and out like the tides makes for an interesting and killer sound. Next is the shortest track on the album, In The Mire. This instrumental track is soft and lies somewhere between whimsical and archaic. With the rest of the album so far being back-to-back heavy metal insanity, it’s nice to have a quiet break.
Scathe of Branches has a notably different feel to it, almost like the band is trying to hold back. The sound here is deep and gloomy, a nod to more old-school influences. Soon, TRUENT‘s now standard ripping grooves shine through, and McIntosh has a chance to make good work of the bass. This track also has guest vocals from progressive deathcore Of Modern Architecture‘s Keaton Campbell, who complements Roodenrys quite well. The last track on the album is Damned To The Deep, the longest and most involved track yet. Various rhythms are found, discarded, and reshaped into something new, always making for something else interesting. This is an excellent closer to a whiplash-inducing album, each band member giving a sweat-soaked performance worthy of applause.
A Final Word
The difference in skill between this album and TRUENT‘s prior EPs is stark, every member having really put in the work to make a crisp and fresh sound. From top to bottom, excluding the instrumental In The Mire, it’s a real heavy hitter that takes no prisoners. Any fan looking for some fresh faces but doesn’t know where to look need go no further than Through The Vale of Earthly Torment. With some experience under their belts and the blessing from bigger Canadian metal acts, TRUENT have shown that they are just starting and only plan on doing bigger, better, and bolder.
- John Roodenrys (he/him) – Vocals
- Matthew Pancoust (he/him) – Lead Guitar
- Daniel Clark (he/him) – Rhythm Guitar
- Spence McIntosh (he/him) – Bass
- Nic Landry (he/him) – Drums
- Keaton Campbell (he/him) – Vocals featured on Scathe of Branches
- Blood and Dust
- Usurper of the Sky
- Silk and Bone
- The Last Hunt
- This Verdant Coil
- In The Mire
- Scathe of Branches
- Damned To The Deep