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A Trust Unclean

A Trust Unclean - Reality Relinquished album art

Reality Relinquished

7th August 2015 – Self-released

01. Enucleation
02. Feckless Traditions
03. Perverse Agenda
04. Insipient Catastrophe
05. Reality Relinquished

More than most, deathcore is a divisive genre. For some, it is all that matters; for others, it is a guilty pleasure and for many it is utterly incomprehensible. It’s a busy genre too, with many bands clamouring – with varying degrees of success – to distinguish themselves from the pack. Way back in 2011, Bicester’s A Trust Unclean did a reasonably good job of getting their heads above the waterline with their debut EP Fragmenting Reality. For many and various reasons, it has taken four long years to get its follow-up, Reality Relinquished, released into the wild – but, at long last, here it is.

Perhaps the first thing to grab attention – besides the particularly striking artwork that accompanies the release – is its brevity. On first glance, a mere five tracks is not a huge amount to show for such a considerable gap between releases. However, whilst there may not be an overabundance of quantity, A Trust Unclean have genuinely surpassed themselves in terms of quality. Reality Relinquished, not to put too fine a point on it, is a goddamn beast.

In the main, Reality Relinquished follows the basic blueprint one would expect: lighting speed sections hurtle headlong into thoroughly pulverising breakdowns, with the same devastating effect as trying to catch a falling piano. With your face. There are pinch harmonics, sub drops, the occasional pig squeal and walls of double-kick galore. However, where A Trust Unclean really distinguish themselves is in their ability to infuse this level of primordial brutality with a thoroughly infectious degree of groove.

Each and every track on Reality Relinquished carries at least one section that is practically guaranteed to get lips curling and heads nodding. In fact, there are a couple of moments, especially the astonishingly dense breakdown of stand-out track “Incipient Catastrophe” where the floor-punching, spinkicking theatrics of the faithful actually make perfect sense, even to those as tired, brittle and prejudiced against such behaviour as this particular author – which is not something I say lightly.

Throughout Reality Relinquished, there are deft, imaginative touches that keep the whole thing moving. Second track “Feckless Tradition” ends with a virtually predatory coda that seems to owe almost as much to Burn My Eyes era Machine Head as any of their contemporary peers. There’s even a cheeky guitar solo or two.

In reality, where many deathcore bands stumble is in their apparent prioritisation of brutality above everything else. But A Trust Unclean, it seems, place that premium on the groove, and equally on songwriting. In the process, they’ve created something far more legitimately brutal than the long line of bands peddling directionless, two-dimensional chug and bellowing. The net result is a short, sharp release of uniformly high quality. Also, one that may well have the capacity to attract fans from beyond aficionados of a genre that is often in danger of becoming a cartoon of itself.

Whether or not A Trust Unclean will be able to maintain such a high degree of quality for the duration of a full-length release remains to be seen, but hopefully we won’t have to wait quite as long to find out. In the meantime, Reality Relinquished is a particularly potent release, stocked to the rafters with moments that will have you desperately suppressing the urge to windmill – even if you’re standing at a bus stop. The EP is a fierce breath of fresh air, and one can imagine that these tracks will only become more powerful in the live environment. Probably best to catch an A Trust Unclean set at your earliest convenience. Just remember to pack a spare face.