17 November 2017 (released)
04 January 2018
“I'll keep digging/Till I feel something”. The perplexed yet resolute battle-cry of Generation Y, the brood of seekers who propagated a new renaissance of transmuted hippyism in their own jaded fashion. Wedged between two generational pillars (Gen X and the Millennials) that are known far more for their stylistic and social mores than their philosophical or spiritual assertions, the wearied dreamers of the Y era have been somewhat left adrift in this vain new world. Just as the sixties tribe had followed Lennon on their spiritual quest, the young masses of the nineties had their pied pipers. The grunge era Christ figures delivered poignant messages of doom and malaise but it wasn't till the voice of Maynard James Keenan began making its way into the ears of more and more young dreamers in the latter half of the decade that this group was able to turn their frustrations into critiques. Their outsider feelings turned from frustrated acquiescence to biting social commentary. They watched as the social and spiritual bankruptcy was rising all around them, they had to say something. Keenan and his various projects had a great stint of releasing vicious attacks on complacency but after decades in the business, even the most devout fans will have to admit that his releases are just not as fervid as they once were. Luckily, a new wave of scratched optimists have been raised on MJK's philosophical underpinnings and are carrying on the torch in this time of unprecedented conceit and arrogance.
Los Angeles hard rock outfit Trigram's self-titled debut EP features the ratcheting riffs, thunderous drums and introspective/philosophically probing lyrics of their forebears from the late nineties but the songs are shot full of a new sense of drive and purpose. The battle is not over. With the production and percussion help of friend Brian Mansell (Leon Russell, Concrete Blonde), mastermind Rodney Warner has crafted four devastating tracks of progressive hard rock goodness.
The opener and lead single 'Assimilate' takes on the issue of conformity and complacency through the indoctrination of mass media. It's a topic that has been extensively covered and yet its relevance has never been greater so the need for a song like this continues. Throbbing guitars and snappy drums lead you through this tale of the loss of independent thought. The Orwellian refrain of the chorus burrows in your head. The fantastic accompanying video illustrates a parallel narrative of a monolithic overlord using people's own devices as the means for their slavery, leaving lifeless zombies. An old metaphor but still, an incredibly relevant one.
'Entropy' is uncannily similar to in feel, musical devices, mix and tone to the songs from A Perfect Circle's 2000 masterpiece Mer de Noms. The dense rhythmic guitars fusing inexorably with the dark tom-heavy drums while seagull guitar leads soar above and rich harmonies of ghostly vocals pervade every nook of the track. Yet, it doesn't feel like a copy. It's a new expression of a subgenre that A Perfect Circle created. It's like trying to claim that a metal band ripped off Black Sabbath. They permeate every band in the genre and yet there are seemingly infinite different iterations of their initial creation.
Trigram have put together a tight, heavy, contemplative piece of progressive heavy rock. With only four tracks to showcase their sound, we only get a certain side of the band's creative potential. A full album could possibly show us an even more wide-reaching version of the band. It could allow for more of an ebb and flow with some more downtempo numbers to give the record more emotional weight like other albums of their ilk. Gives us something in the Tool fan community to look forward to while we wait for Hell to freeze over so we can finally get that elusive unicorn of a new Tool album.