Review: “Through The Vale of Earthly Torment” by Truent

“Written and recorded while the world was being ravaged by the pandemic, Through the Vale of Earthly Torment was an exercise in escapism for us from the grim realities of life in turbulent times. While not a concept album in the traditional sense, we turned to themes of mythology and lore, exploring how people from all corners of the globe across all time periods have used myths to create vivid descriptions of their values. Each song centres itself around a creature or deity, and each of these entities are made to represent one of the seven deadly vices, giving the album a consistent through-line to follow. 

Musically, we expanded our sound with influences from all across the heavy music spectrum in order to create the most dynamic record we could. The songs weave together pummeling and technical riffs, triumphant choruses, and a number of oddball moments that hit seemingly from nowhere. There’s a wide mix of subgenres and sounds we explore throughout the album, often within the same song. We incorporate elements of everything from tech death to thrash metal to metallic hardcore into the records core sound of groove-filled progressive death metal. We do not want to be an easy band to categorize, and we feel this record is our most diverse work to date.” ~ Truent

Vancouver Canadian Progressive Death Metal quintet Truent have spent the past five years or so cultivating a following in Western Canadian territories with tours of the region and shows that saw them treading the boards with Archspire and Voivod to name but a few. A pair of EPs in 2017’s “Faith in the Forgotten” and 2018’s “To End an Ancient Way of Life” put down a marker for the four piece before they chose to expand with the addition of rhythm guitarist Daniel Clark and with all that under their belt they entered the studio with producer, engineer, mixing and mastering Guru Tim Creviston (Spiritbox, Angelmaker, Misery Signals) to record their debut full length album “Through The Vale of Earthly Torment” in 2021….

…sometimes the use of the word Progressive means endless meandering and musicianship that while it sounds impressive enough, drags on into eternity. When it comes to this debut from Truent however, what they have created is the polar opposite of that as they find their natural comfort zone around the 240 second mark, only once crossing beyond the five minute barrier in these eight tracks. “Blood and Dust” gets the party started, throwing down the gauntlet with a plethora of Technical Death Metal riffs as axe wielding duo Matthew Pancoust and Daniel Clark go toe to toe and let the music do the talking. They do that with a surprising amount of Groove, something which paints them as creating a more technical variety of what bands like Bleed From Within or even Fit For An Autopsy are currently doing. “Usurper of the Sky” then follows up with rapid fire flame thrower bursts of incendiary aggression as the rhythm section of Nic Landry and Spence McIntosh work their fingers to the bone to deliver a monstrous pulveriser of a cut and it’s here that the surprises start to appear, one at a time making their presence felt as little unexpected nuances. The first is a mid track drop out for John Roodenrys to produce a head turning clean vocal moment before stepping back into his usual incredible unclean range, the only time they choose to use that. Things then get violent with “The Last Hunt” which gets going with a whirlwind of blasting before settling back into a galloping rhythm that breaks out into some vibrant leads which are mesmerising in quality.

It’s clear that a lot of work has gone into crafting this debut record, getting every piece of the puzzle in the right place to allow the band to bury their flag in Metal and announce themselves in style and it has been time well spent as the results speak for themselves. What sounds like buried a buried synth during parts of “This Verdant Coil” only serves to add to the darkness of the brutal offering before the acoustic and almost tribal “In the Mire” acts as a palate cleansing instrumental to clear the mind for the final onslaught. Where as some records fade as they reach the end, Truent go against the grain and actually throw a couple of logs on the fire to turn up the heat. Slam inspired vocal elements appear from nowhere on the final pair of cuts as Roodenrys reaches deep within himself and produces something entirely new as things get monstrously heavy with “Scathe of Branches” seeing the band joined by Keaton Campbell of Of Modern Architecture. The lead riffs get schizophrenic on that one and your brain simply can’t capture and process it all the first time around, such is the high octane approach. Comfortably the heaviest cut on the album, it balances on a knife edge as a left field move which may divide as much as conquer as it offers something more Deathcore orientated. “Damned to the Deep” then flips the script, returning to the bands Groove driven guitar work and providing something of a blunt force trauma by way of comparison. So in some ways this is a more darkly diverse record than it at first seems so beware what lies beneath the surface [8/10]

Track Listing

1. Blood and Dust
2. Usurper of the Sky
3. Silk and Bone
4. The Last Hunt
5. This Verdant Coil
6. In the Mire
7. Scathe of Branches (ft. Keaton Campbell of Of Modern Architecture)
8. Damned to the Deep

Through The Vale of Earthly Torment” by Truent is out 17th June 2022 and is available over at bandcamp.

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