The sky is grey and hangs above the streets like an Orwellian nightmare, a filter that surrounds the masses to make sure blue skies aren’t seen for another day. Coldness inhabits the darkness, taking its skin like a costume or disguise. When a chilled breeze flows by, you feel as if the gloom has tangled itself around you, leaving you with only fears and doubts and hideous thoughts masquerading as compliments. Memories of sunny days and falling leaves play over and over in your mind, reminding you that this too shall pass.
Trenches were used as protection, as a defense against the enemy during war. Soldiers would sweat in foreign countries while digging away, knowing that each lift of the earth was an inch closer to being relatively safe. During battle, soldiers hid in the trenches, allowing the earth to serve as a shield, as protection against bullets and items launched from the opposition line. These holes and connected system of ditches held each individual’s thoughts and prays, hoping that the battle will be over and in due time, they would be home again with their families. Ditches, containers of bodies built by bare hands to demolish the enemies from a distance, but to also protect them from soaring metals.
Whether or not the name of the band is meant to allude to such images, that’s something only the members can truly answer. Regardless, many listeners can view the music of Trenches debut record, “The Tide Will Swallow Us Whole”, as a metaphorical element to their lives, serving to “protect” them from their struggles, stresses, and daily hardships. It’s easy to compare a military strategy to something put out by a five-piece band: music in general has always served as an escape, a place where one could hide between notes and sounds.
The ten tracks on the record span various genres, from the brutal to the experimental to the eerily inspiring. The first time listening to the record, you are taken on loops and dives, twists and turns where the unexpected grips you by the wrists. The first track (“Calling”) starts out with an eerie sound fading in, getting louder, and then the vocals from Jimmy Ryan, formerly of Haste The Day. The music slows down immensely while the screams still pour out like lions running towards their prey, ready to sink their teeth in. The rest of the track flips between a faster pace, and a slow, more relaxed one where the instruments can be heard clearly. There is a hint of singing that will eventually be heard throughout the record in small portions, but each section of singing relatively different than the other. The first track is a perfect opener, giving the listener a taste of what’s going to be explored throughout the next nine tracks; impressive musicianship, brutal vocals, unique singing sections, dark themes without rooting back to the over-used basic of chugging guitars and breakdowns.
The experimental aspect of “The Tide Will Swallow Us Whole” is outstanding, giving a unique twist to heavier music. A large part of the songs are portions of instrumentals, which proves that hype surrounding Trenches shouldn’t just be focused on Jimmy Ryan, but the rest of the members who are talented in their given spotlights. “Bittersweet” includes a piano near the end of the song that leads to emotional yells and screams. The build up from piano to the yells leaves the listener with a sense of reaching the climax of a given event, whether positively or negatively viewed.
The ten songs have a tendency to evoke dark imagery, but not in the sense of glorify negative aspects, but in the sense of bringing awareness and messages of hope through honest lyrics and creative musicianship. Overall, Trenches makes an impressive and underrated debut with “The Tide Will Swallow Us Whole.” Ten songs of something refreshing not plagued with stereotypical sounds and vibrations. One of the best records of the year, Trenches should easily become a common name in backlit media devices around the world.
2. Eyes Open
4. Trip The Landmine
7. Call It Correct
9. Ocean Currents