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Tripswitch - "Until" (CD/EP)

Tripswitch - "Until" CD/EP cover image

"Until" track listing:

1. Call It A Day
2. 1 Hit Infliction
3. Withered
4. 15:1
5. Answers

Reviewed by on June 8, 2009

"The many switches from fast to slow and from heavy to light on 'Call It A Day' are incredibly smooth, which makes me appreciate the difficulty in creating them all the more."

One of the best things about alternative metal is its sense of adventure. Sure, you can have a vocalist screaming until his vocal cords liquify, but you can also immediately follow it up with clean guitars, samples, and danceable drum fills before whipsawing back into full-on headbanger mode. That sense of adventure and unpredictability permeates Tripswitch's "Until."

"Until" starts off deceptively softly, with a guitar part from Rick Whitehead and Steve Dearnley on "Call It A Day" that feels almost like a U2 or Coldplay riff, that then gives way a to heavy distorted part accompanying singer Jamie Armstrong's scream. Then Armstrong and the band shift gears, with the singer now reminding me a great deal of ex-Anthrax frontman John Bush — and that's never a bad thing. The many switches from fast to slow and from heavy to light on "Call It A Day" are incredibly smooth, which makes me appreciate the difficulty in creating them all the more.

The next track, "1 Hit Infliction," is even better, with Pete Botterill's drums and samples right up front. Particularly effective is a creepy sample that recurs in the beginning that could be anything from a distorted bong hit to the sound of a tracheotomy patient's labored breathing put through an electronic blender. Botterill's drumming alternates between rock-steady dance beats to a weird, stuttering pattern that I really dug. The switch to slow, clean melodies in the middle was a nice turn as well.

The next track, "Withered," isn't a bad song by any means, but it is somewhat less musically adventurous than the two that precede it. It's definitely the most conventionally "metal" track on the disc, reminding me a bit of early Tool in parts.

Armstrong's John Bush vocal style returns in "15:1," which brings back the musical adventure, and the album officially ends well with "Answers," which features some great stop-and-start riffing from Dearnley and Whitehead.

Then, two minutes later, we get an interesting bit of sonic noodling, with samples of clocks and other strange sounds, accompanied by the occasional burst of drums and soft guitar. Usually, this kind of track isn't for me, but I kind of like this one, though it's far too long at over eight minutes. Still, this is a solid EP/album from a band I hope to hear a lot more from in the future.

If you're looking for music that stretches the boundaries of metal, Tripswitch's "Until" is the album you've been waiting for.

Highs: "1 Hit Infliction," with its creepy sample and expert drumming.

Lows: "Withered," though not bad, lacks the rest of the disc's sense of adventure; an eight-minute hidden track goes on way too long.

Bottom line: "Until" is superb alt-metal with a great sense of musical adventure.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)