A Trust Unclean
2nd June 2017 – Basick Records
02. Dominion Over Bone
06. To Encompass and Eclipse
Brace yourself. We’ve been following Oxford’s A Trust Unclean since a chance encounter with them back in early 2014, and they’ve been surprising, delighting and disgusting us in equal measure since then. Their second EP, 2015′s Reality Relinquished, firmly established them as potent purveyors of face-melting riffs, and grooves muscular enough to have to turn sideways to fit through narrow doorways. In the intervening years, there have been some changes to the band’s circumstances, but they are back with a vengeance with Parturition.
The most obvious changes are in personnel. 2016 saw the departure of long-standing members Joe and Scott, and the arrival of vocalist Kyle Lamb and drummer Noah Plant. The band have also leveled up, having signed a deal with Basick Records. A Trust Unclean in 2017 mean serious business, and Parturition is a fearsome statement of intent. They are coming for you.
Despite being billed as an EP, Parturition probably sits closer to mini-album status, with half an hour of music across eight tracks. The opening title track is basically a trailer, beginning with Hammer Horror-esque spooky vibes, then piles into an utter facemelter of a riff before fucking off almost as abruptly as it had arrived. In the process, it neatly introduces Kyle’s throaty scream and Noah’s frankly astonishing drumming capabilities. It is hard to know what is more remarkable; that Noah can move his feet faster than most people can blink, that the drums you hear on Parturition were recorded live and not punched into a drum machine, or that the guy is only just old enough to vote. The future is bright for this one. Either way, that opening track is all anyone should need to hear to be confident that the changes within the band have, if anything, strengthened their focus. If this intro doesn’t also become the band’s standard set-opener, it will be a missed opportunity.
With the scene set, Parturition dives headlong into a seemingly bottomless pit of filthy riffs and even filthier breakdowns. A Trust Unclean have seemingly turned up the ‘death’ and dialled back the ‘core’ elements in their sound, with spine-melting blast beats setting a pace that makes ‘blistering’ sound like an understatement. Of course, this extra turn of speed also pays off when the band stamp on the brakes and lurch into a breakdown, which has broadly the same effect as dropping a bowling ball on a cupcake. Splat. It’s the mastery with which A Trust Unclean shift tempo – in both directions – that makes Parturition such a thrilling listen.
Lead singles “To Encompass and Eclipse” and “Exonerate” come equipped with amusingly silly videos that show that A Trust Unclean don’t take themselves too seriously, and that sense of fun even manages to permeate through into the music from time to time. A satisfying pinched harmonic squeal here, a guitar solo built for foot-on-the-monitor rock star posing there, a brief waltzing music-box interlude and a grime-influenced outro all give cause for smiles to briefly break through the gurns induced by the relentless riffery. There even seems to be a cheeky little callback in the solo of “Apex” to its counterpart in “Reality Relinquished” for the particularly keen-eared.
Kyle steps confidently into his new role as frontman, proving himself to be more than a match for his predecessor. He delivers a full spectrum of inhuman grunts, squeals, barks and roars. It’s this variety of approaches that help steer A Trust Unclean clear of the problems of monotone monotony that so often plague bands operating in this genre.
The pre-existing members of A Trust Unclean, bassist Bobby Hembrow and guitarists Steven Hunt and Mikey Gee, have now worked together for many years, and have developed into a supremely well-engineered groove machine. Their ability to infuse even the most punishing riffs with a head-bobbing bounce gives the tunes a much broader appeal than simple lowest common denominator brutality. In turn, this gives the tracks far more longevity past the point where the initial thrill of their intensity has worn off.
In short, Parturition is a triumph. A Trust Unclean haven’t just taken a step up; they’ve reached deep inside and found the energy to bound up several steps at once. They have delivered a non-stop, white-knuckle runaway train ride that is completely exhilarating and hugely satisfying. The combination of well established relationships and an injection of new blood has helped them develop their sound whilst retaining the qualities that turned our heads in the first place. Outstanding stuff.
One final word of warning; If you have any sort of love for punchy deathcore, then before pressing play on Parturition, pack away anything delicate or breakable and usher any pets and grandparents out of the room, as these songs likely to provoke a physical response. You have been warned.