Trioscapes initially started as a short-term instrumental project back in 2011, when bassist Dan Briggs(Between the Buried and Me) contacted drummer Matt Lynch and sax player Walter Fancourt. Despite being quite technical, the group’s music, which is comprised of fusion, prog rock and jazz, proved to be a success live, and the band went on to record a full length album: “Separate Realities“.
As rock fans or metalheads, you’ve probably noticed this short introduction to the group’s music did not include many “heavy” attributes. I mean, the album doesn’t even feature a guitar besides Briggs’ bass, bringing up the obvious question – does this album rock at all? Well, the answer, weirdly, is yes. In its own untraditional way, “Seperate Realities” succeeds in being heavy. Instead of a guitar it is the sax that shreds here, while the drummer brilliantly pounds away with a wide arsenal of both subtle and hard-hitting rhythms. The bassist completes the instrumental trio, providing a groove with surprisingly dark & often distorted tones, which at times feel unnecessary, but more on that later.
Trioscapes‘ intricate and quite quirky ride begins with “Blast Off“, which you can right away tell is the strongest track here. Its main melody whirls around itself in a very catchy manner, and delves into an improvisation part that culminates dramatically, of course, only to return back to the familiar, and may I say, danceable main musical phrase. This one’s pretty flawless:
Next comes the title track. Only the second track here and it’s no less than 11 minutes long, which might seem a bit off-putting at first, but clearly works for the group. It continues in the same manner as “Blast Off“, but allows the band to cover more ground and explore different ever-changing, enjoyable, confusing and amusing paths – never boring the listener.
With “Curse Of The Ninth“, Trioscapes continue to pave their offbeat jazzy way to success in a more mellow style, A flute arriving unexpectedly like a bird in flight, soothing the ears and serving as a relief from all the chaos. However, during this piece, a certain problem begins to surface. As I wrote earlier, Briggs’ bass takes form using somewhat peculiar tones on this album, and while I get the intent behind the distorted sound, the result can become overbearing. Moreover, his playing often grows stagnant, following the a melody or riff stubbornly, without much creative freedom, and when he does go all out, it blatantly feels too much.
I don’t think this issue ruins the album or anything, as it’s more of a subjective, love-it-or-hate-it type of thing. However, the mentioned experimental effect, like it or not, persists on the following tracks and for that reason I can’t give “Separate Realities” the better rating it could have had. Nonetheless, it’s all still very intriguing material played by highly talented musicians, and I highly recommend it to open-minded fans of Prog\Fusion\Jazz.
This post also appears on http://www.metal-observer.com