Trinacria: Now Travel Journey Infinitely (2008)

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Trinacria: Now Travel Journey Infinitely
What happens if you cross a macho, brutal metal outfit with a duo of fearless female improvisers? Someone in Rikskonsertene, the Norwegian National Concert Institute, probably had a vague idea, otherwise Trinacria, named after the ancient symbol of an eye enclosed by a pyramid (as shown on the American dollar), would not have been born.

This bold attempt matches two outfits. The Fe-Mail duo of composer/vocalist Maja. S.K. Ratkje and horn player Hild Sofie Tafjord, with both doubling on electronics, are known for their ability to produce a rich texture of noise. Three members of the Bergen-based progressive metal group Enslaved—guitarist/composer Ivar Bjørnson, second guitarist Ice Dale and growling vocalist Grutle Kjellson—are joined by drummer Iver Sandøy of the also Bergen-based psychedelic metal outfit Emmerhoff & The Melancholy Babies, and bassist Espen Lien. The outcome is, as expected, quite extreme sonically and conceptually, but offers a unique experience for those ready to crank up their loudspeakers up to the maximum.

The six-part suite begins with "Turn-Away," ritualistic thundering drumming together with resonating mean guitars methodically grinding the basic powerful theme, with Kjellson's threatening vocals—unintelligible low growling- Rakje's more contextual voice and the shrieks of electronics pushing the dense sonic envelope to its chaotic volcanic catharsis. "The Silence" begins as a confrontation between Bjørnson and Ice Dale's aggressive guitars, coupled with Fe-Mail's inventive electric storm. Both sides comment on each other's sonic eruptions in super-fast manner, until they unite for a short feedback-laden improvisation that ultimately evolves into a metal anthem. Fe-Mail frames "Make No Mistake" with a typically uncompromising and brutal assault of everyone involved; an intriguingly noisy ornament that add a welcome sense of irony to the masculine take-no-prisoners attitude.

The slower and ritualistic "Endless Roads" stresses how Fe-Mail enriches the sonic vocabulary of Trinacria even further. Ratkje and Trafjord mutate otherworldly sounds—snippets of blips, feedbacks, white noise—into varied textures that force their partners to adjust their assault. The suite ends with the title track, introduced by a dramatic vocal duet between the angelic Ratkje and Kjellson's typical whispering growls, accompanied by Trafford's distant and gentle horn. The other players finally join, but the sound of Trinacria has changed. Indefinable, reformed and richer, it suggests that even the most determined and darkest of metal machos can contain creative feminine energy.

The Trinacria symbol has long been considered a coded emblem of international conspiracy. This demanding abstraction of extremes may suggest some form of occult symbolism, but regardless of such a theme, Trinacria offers a one-time experience that is clearly not for the casual listener. You'll either run away for your life or surrender totally.

Track Listing: Turn-Away; The Silence; Make No Mistake; Endless Roads; Breach; Travel Now Journey Infinitely.

Personnel: Ivar Bj

Record Label: Indie Recordings

Style: Beyond Jazz


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