Truent – Through The Vale Of Earthly Torment – Album Review

Artist: Truent

Album Title: Through The Vale Of Earthly Torment

Label: Independent Release

Date of Release: 17 June 2022

The opportunity to review a debut album and an independent release is something I always struggle to refuse, and so here I am reviewing ‘Through the Vale Of Earthly Torment’, the first full-length record to see the light of day from Truent, a progressive/technical death metal band hailing from Vancouver, Canada. As you’re no doubt aware, I’ve been developing quite the taste for prog/tech death of late, so this is another tick in the box that made a review of this album a certainty.

To add a little more background context to the review, Truent have been around for a few years now, releasing a couple of EPs in 2017 (‘Faith In The Forgotten’) and 2018 (‘To End An Ancient Way Of Life’). They are a quintet comprised of vocalist and acoustic guitarist John Roodenrys, guitarists Daniel Clark (rhythm) and Matthew Pancoust (lead/rhythm), bassist Spence McIntosh, and drummer Nic Landry. They are also not the first outfit to cite the pandemic as the catalyst for the writing and recording of this venture, expressing the fact that it was a form of escapism for them during difficult times. The result is ‘Through The Vale Of Earthly Torment’, an eight-track 32-minute affair that the band declare as being their most diverse offering to date.

The first thing that I can confirm is that the band members can all play their instruments to a high standard – to play technical death metal, that’s more of an implied expectation rather than hopeful optimism though. Nevertheless, it’s a box that can be ticked accordingly. The second comment to make is that ‘Through The Vale Of Earthly Torment’ is heavily reliant on a core of chunky and groovy riffing, rather than a barrage of impossibly fast but precise instrumentalism. Put another way, this is more of a 44-tonne articulated lorry than a helicopter gunship.

Within the material provided with the promo, there are quotes from the band stating:

There’s a wide mix of subgenres and sounds we explore throughout the album, often within the same song. We incorporate elements of everything from tech death to thrash metal to metallic hardcore into the records core sound of groove-filled progressive death metal.”

If you listen closely, then Truent are not wrong with their assertions; there are a number of different influences on offer within this half-hour record. But, and here’s my problem with this record, it all sounds a little bit forgettable. In a day and age where the quality within this subgenre is off the scale thanks to the likes of Archspire and so forth, this kind of music needs to really sizzle in order to make a big impression on me. The music on ‘The Vale Of Earthly Torment’ is perfectly well played and there are moments that do stand out. However, I don’t get the rush of excitement listening to this album that I do with others within the genre. Ultimately, the song writing just isn’t consistently strong enough engaging enough to hold my attention and excite me.

There are some high points though, starting with ‘Scathe Of Branches’ which has a Gojira vibe mixed with maybe even an early Soilwork or Darkane accent or two, especially when the music goes a little thrashier and the vocals are slightly cleaner and more of a gritty, soaring nature than the normal guttural growls. Then there’s ‘This Verdant Coil’ which is easily the most memorable of all the songs on the album. It features some cool drumming in the early stages in particular, but it’s the groove and the ensuing melodies woven in that make the greatest impact, topped off with a nice lead guitar sound, that’s akin to an air raid siren in a manner of speaking. Of all of the songs by Truent, this is the one that I remember once the disc has finished playing.

Mind you, the acoustic intro of ‘Blood And Dust’ is short but very sweet, whilst the ensuing four-and-a-bit minutes are arguably the most technical of all the material here, a bit of a problem when it’s also the opening track. It also signals the prevalence of chugging, down-tuned djent-like guitar tones which are used throughout the record, an aspect of the music that I need to be stellar in order to really hit my sweet spot.

I realise that I sound particularly harsh towards Truent, and I guess I am. But I also want the criticism to be as constructive as possible, so that the next release from these guys knocks me sideways. They have the talent and the ability to succeed, so I really hope their sophomore release realises their potential. By that, I mean that I want to hear music that is properly memorable, and which carries more of a unique edge to it. Focus on the songs themselves, improve in that area, and maybe cut out a few of the gratuitous chugs while you’re at it. Nevertheless, I would urge fans of this style of music to take a listen to ‘Through The Vale Of Earthly Torment’ just in case I’m way off the mark here.

The Score of Much Metal: 68%

Check out my other 2022 reviews here:

Kardashev – Liminal Rite

Artificial Brain -Artificial Brain

Seventh Wonder – The Testament

All Things Fallen – Shadow Way

Def Leppard – Diamond Star Halos

Lord Belial – Rapture

Buried Realm – Buried Realm

Stiriah – …Of Light

Remains Of Destruction – New Dawn

Crematory – Inglorious Darkness

IATT – Magnum Opus

Iris Divine – Mercurial

Decapitated – Cancer Culture

Bekmørk – The Path Nocturnal

Septic Flesh – Modern Primitive

Blut Aus Nord – Disharmonium – Undreamable Abysses

Drift Into Black – Earthtorn

Spheric Universe Experience – Back Home

Outshine – The Awakening

Cosmic Putrefaction – Crepuscular Dirge For The Blessed Ones

Zero Hour – Agenda 21

Scitalis – Doomed Before Time

Morgue Supplier – Inevitability

Visions Of Atlantis – Pirates

Evergrey – A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament)

OU – One

Haunter – Discarnate Ails

Aara – Triade II: Hemera

Pure Reason Revolution – Above Cirrus

Demonical – Mass Destroyer

I Am The Night – While The Gods Are Sleeping

Haunted By Silhouettes – No Man Isle

Delvoid – Swarmlife

LionSoul – A Pledge To Darkness

Watain – The Agony And Ecstasy Of Watain

Dischordia – Triptych

Dragonbreed – Necrohedron

Audrey Horne – Devil’s Bell

Vanum – Legend

Stone Broken – Revelation

Radiant – Written By Life

Skull Fist – Paid In Full

Hurakan – Via Aeturna

Incandescence – Le Coeur De L’Homme

Imminent Sonic Destruction – The Sun Will Always Set

Monuments – In Stasis

Soledad – XIII

Viande – L’abime dévore les âmes

Credic – Vermillion Oceans

Postcards From New Zealand – Burn, Witch, Burn

Darkher – The Buried Storm

Treat – The Endgame

Bjørn Riis – Everything To Everyone

Destruction – Diabolical

Et Moriemur – Tamashii No Yama

Angel Nation – Antares

Wolf – Shadowland

Denali – Denali EP

Centinex – The Pestilence EP

Meshuggah – Immutable

Chapter Of Hate – Bloodsoaked Decadence EP

Ancient Settlers – Our Last Eclipse

Tranzat – Ouh La La

Playgrounded – The Death Of Death

Father Befouled – Crowned In Veneficum

Abbath – Dread Reaver

PreHistoric Animals – The Magical Mystery Machine (Chapter 2)

Kvaen – The Great Below

Michael Romeo – War Of The Worlds, Part 2

Dark Funeral – We Are The Apocalypse

Carmeria – Advenae

Agathodaimon – The Seven

Moonlight Haze – Animus

Hellbore – Panopticon

Konvent – Call Down The Sun

Idol Of Fear – Trespasser

The Midgard Project – The Great Divide

Threads Of Fate – The Cold Embrace Of The Light

Arkaik – Labyrinth Of Hungry Ghosts

New Horizon – Gate Of The Gods

Cailleach Calling – Dreams Of Fragmentation

Tundra – A Darkening Sky

Sylvaine – Nova

Hath – All That Was Promised

Sabaton – The War To End All Wars

Kuolemanlaakso – Kuusumu

Oh Hiroshima – Myriad

Godless Truth – Godless Truth

Shape Of Despair – Return To The Void

Eight Bells – Legacy Of Ruin

Embryonic Devourment – Heresy Of The Highest Order

Serious Black – Vengeance Is Mine

Allegaeon – Damnum

HammerFall – Hammer Of Dawn

Immolation – Acts Of God

Veonity – Elements Of Power

Nightrage – Abyss Rising

Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s Star One – Revel In Time

Pure Wrath – Hymn To The Woeful Hearts

Dagoba – By Night

The Last Of Lucy – Moksha

Arð – Take Up My Bones

Embryonic Autopsy – Prophecies Of The Conjoined

The Devils Of Loudun – Escaping Eternity

Cult Of Luna – The Long Road North

WAIT – The End Of Noise

Abysmal Dawn – Nightmare Frontier

Amorphis – Halo

Nordic Giants – Sybiosis

Persefone – Metanoia

Vorga – Striving Toward Oblivion

Mystic Circle – Mystic Circle

Nasson – Scars

Burned In Effigy – Rex Mortem

Silent Skies – Nectar

Celeste – Assassine(s)

Abyssus – Death Revival

SOM – The Shape Of Everything

Ashes Of Ares – Emperors And Fools

Beriedir – AQVA

Lalu – Paint The Sky

Nocturna – Daughters Of The Night

Battle Beast – Circus Of Doom

Lee McKinney – In The Light Of Knowledge

Descent – Order Of Chaos

Aethereus – Leiden

Toundra – Hex

Ilium – Quantum Evolution Event EP

Power Paladin – With The Magic Of Windfyre Steel

Necrophagous – In Chaos Ascend

Infected Rain – Ecdysis

Wilderun – Epigone

You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here:

2021 reviews

2020 reviews

2019 reviews
2018 reviews
2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews

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