Trepalium are an odd entity it has to be said. They are essentially death metal bands who also incorporate jazz elements; this is hardly normal behaviour I would say. But of course many bands have not followed the norm and have tried new things and have often become the most rewarding to listen to when it is done well. Trepalium, for the uninitiated, do fall in the ‘done well’ camp.
As a French death metal act, Trepalium have received a lot of (not necessarily unfair) comparisons to French behemoths Gojira. They are certainly a band that they have had a real working relationship with as well; sharing stages on numerous occasions, but there are some similarities musically as well, both bands for example have very large and prominent grooves in their sound. But this is pretty much where the major similarities end. As stated before Trepalium are a death metal act, with links to European melodeath groups to an extent, with the curious use of jazz like parts. Except on new album “H.N.P” these jazz elements appear to be stripped back considerably.
Previous album “XIII” was a great example of how Trepalium revealed their death metal and jazz and blues, with all aspects being very clear, one notable example is the vocal intro to “Addicted To Oblivion”. On “H.N.P” however, such parts are much more subtle and hard to spot. For the most part this album is a much more straight up death metal effort. The most obvious aspects are a number of guitar parts that have a bluesy feel to them, especially when they appear alone for a moment or two. It is quite curious as to why the band would strip such elements away so much when it was a unique characteristic that was winning them some fairly decent reviews.
With this lessening of the jazz influence upon it, this album is more of a pure modern sounding death metal album, with some pretty big grooves. Unfortunately, although fairly decent and enjoyable, it isn’t the most exciting album and it is quite forgettable once it finishes.