Trepaneringsritualen – Perfection & Permanence LP Cold Spring Records 2014
Since 2008 Trepaneringsritualen (TxRxP) have issued 18 releases across numerous formats, which have collectively functioned to display a varied approach to a death industrial/ ritual ambient sound. Likewise for anyone who has followed the project’s creative arc over this time, it has involved a gradual shift toward more ‘song’ focused compositions, where the culmination of this process was the ‘Judas Goat’ 7”EP of 2013, that at the time of its release felt like TxRxP ‘hit’ single. For this new album TxRxP has opted for its creative core to be built around this honed song based approach, whilst thematically the album addresses the principle of duality from a number of differing angles, including: that found within varied religious iconography, as well as the dualism of the ego and the self.
For the album’s opening track ‘Venerated and Despised’ it is very much of the stalking and slow ritual ambient style, which at 2.5 minutes feels like an introductory piece of sorts. ‘A Black Egg’ then marks the first focused track of the album, containing a brooding bass line and flourishes of tribal percussion, as the prominent hoarse croaked vocals (in a verse chorus verse format), retain a central prominence and really hammer home the rhythmic song based approach. ‘Castrate Christ’ then elevates the urgent atmosphere further, with heavy pounding and mid paced tribal death industrial format, as multi-layered vocal lines add variation. ‘Alone/A/Cross/Abyss’ is another great example of the use of multiple vocals lines (in both sonic treatment and lyrical delivery), along with a swaying rhythmic bass line leading the tribal death industrial sound.
An album standout track come in the form of ’The Seventh Man’ – an anthemic pounding death industrial track at its most potent, built with grinding bass lines, caustic synths and fractured drum machine programming. Clearly this is the death industrial tone of mid era Brighter Death Now, but sped up to urgent tribal proportions and further augmented with ritualised intent, where the album’s title forms a chant within the song’s framework. This catchy song format continues with the swaying/ pounding rhythms and clanging metallic percussion of ‘Konung Kront I Blod’, yet still imbedded with an ample dark death industrial tone. Yet not all album tracks are of a focused rhythmic type, where the piece ‘Thirty-Nine Lashes’ is very much a religious lament of the forsaken damned, whilst ‘Liken Ingen Jord Vill Svälja’ and ‘A Ceaseless Howling’ are abstract ritualised death ambient soundscapes. ‘He Who Is My Mirror’ rounds out the relatively short album (approximately 40 minutes) with another focused tribal percussive track, with booming war drums and grinding synths and the now trademark hoarse vocals.
Clearly the album’s overarching atmosphere is one of cathartic rhythmic death industrial – something akin to salvation through punishment and oppression. Whilst a diverse range of ritual atmospheres and soundscapes have been explored on earlier material, as highlighted there has also been an evolution towards a more structured song based style. ‘Perfection & Permanence’ is effectively the culmination of this direction and is the most focused and song structured release from TxRxP yet. So on one hand this album displays a definite level of ‘accessibility’ for those listeners not as accustomed to obscure underground music genres. Yet at the same time TxRxP have not forgone or lost the murky ritualised elements which make their music so visceral and engaging. Accordingly ‘Perfection & Permanence’ represents another step in the continued evolution and rise of TxRxP. Available on either 500 black or 500 white vinyls (obviously being another reference to the ‘duality’ concept), as well as unlimited CD.