Tristwood - _The Delphic Doctrine_
(Sound Riot, 2006)
by: Nikola Shahpazov (8 out of 10)
There was a certain time around the second half of the '90s when the popularity of rave and trance became so immense that certain bands took up the idea of reinventing extreme metal by means of adding certain electro elements to it. Samael, The Kovenant, Dodheimsgard and Satyricon had all discovered techno and drum 'n' bass, and suddenly we found quite a few people interested in mixing styles -- from the black circles of Norway to Peter Tagtgren's Pain project to death metallers Avulsed. Some even predicted a wave of electro metal to succeed punk ravers Prodigy, but that was not to be. Now that things had quieted down, no one is that impressed / scandalized / instantly interested by hearing about an extreme band incorporating elements of the latest, let's say Om Records compilation in its new album. And still, there are those who dare into the eclectic.

Tristwood have been wise enough not to just throw beats and samples here and there, but rather to employ certain industrial / techno intensity added to the ferocity and speed of their death / black metal hybrid. Their use of drum machine might turn away a good deal of fans who are always on the look for the next Pete Sandoval; but if you're OK with programmed drumming, the obvious lack of live percussions won't bother you that much. The approach is undoubtedly death metal (especially on the vocal front) with dominating speed sections that are borderline black plus a bunch of melodic leads and solos weaving Oriental tunes akin to Nile. Keyboards are heavily involved and so are samples and beats, though techno or drum 'n' bass elements are so interwoven with the guitar distortion they rarely stand out at their own.

Lyrical subjects are obviously hermetic traditions, arcane magick and forgotten rituals of the East and South, thus reminding the listener once more of the likes of Nile and Stargazer.

The final verdict is that this is a rather good album, characterized by an adventurous if not quite so unique approach, well executed and undoubtedly an entertaining listen. A bit more variety would have been welcome, but hey, you can't have it all, can you?


(article published 14/7/2006)

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