19-09-2007 - 10:34
Rockfreaks.netTrusted Few - Trusted Few EP
Denmark has always missed out on the big trends when it comes to rock bands. Grunge dominated MTV in early 90s but was nowhere to be seen. Several waves of pop punk passed almost unnoticed in the past two decades, with less than a handful of noteworthy acts as opposed to the thousands on the other side of the pond. Yeah, with the exception of hardcore and metalcore, the country has never really fallen for what's the current fad in the industry. The same is now happening to the whole emo / screamo / post-hardcore movement, where I'll be damned if I'm able to name more than three bands in the country who are talented enough to be mentioned and don't sound like direct carbon copies of the really big names in the genre. Trusted Few, hailing from a small Danish city called Slagelse, are the exception to that rule. In fact, I'm willing to call their debut EP the most professionally written and recorded screamo record in the country.
"Consuming Me" opens up the EP with a heavy load of aggression thrown right at your face. Vocalist Johan masters scratchy clean vocals and transitions to throaty screams brilliantly, drawing parallels to some of Across Five April's older material. The screams are melodic and passionate, hinting at an intensely tight liveshow which I am hopefully able to witness in the near future.
While it's possible to notice quiet/loud dynamics in the vein of UnderOATH and massive faux-breakdowns that might make you think From First To Last, at no point of the record do you feel that it is trying to ape one band or another. The screaming is solid and meaningful, and although it dominates large parts of the record, you never tend to think that they're "wraahing just for the sake of wraahing" like our writer KS nicely put it about The Devil Wears Prada. Johan isn't afraid to use his clean voice, and it is this constant duel between aggro-screamo and melodic-clean that makes the songs work. Take "Rotating Stars And Human Breath" for instance, a track where Johan's clean voice is taken best advantage of. When the screams finally arrive, they contrast his voice brilliantly. I instantly thought Dance Gavin Dance upon hearing them. I know the band is going to be reading this review, and I strongly urge them to focus on creating songs like this one. Should they succeed, their eventual debut album will be fighting in the big leagues.
There's one aspect about the album that's been puzzling me a lot lately: the production of the instruments. Think As We Fight's "Midnight Tornado", it makes the songs sound like they were meant to be played live. On some occasions this works to the band's advantage because the songs don't sound as polished and consequently as generic as they otherwise might do, which is the pitfall for many bands in this genre. But on the other hand, occasionally it'd be nice to hear a decorous smoothed out guitar passage a la "They're Only Chasing Safety" era UnderOATH. That could remove big chunks of the aggression though if not done correctly.
I guess there's no way around concluding that Trusted Few aren't doing anything original here. But successful entrepreneurs, as I've just learnt on my last week's entrepreneurship class, often take an existing concept and better it somehow. To some extent, this is what Trusted Few does - they are pure screamo-metal (I just made that up), but they are good at it. Already looking forward to the evenetual debut album. [7½]
Download: Rotating Stars And Human Breath
For the fans of: UnderOATH, Dance Gavin Dance, Across Five Aprils, From First To Last