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Black Trillium - The Locked Woods EP (Self-Released)

By: Justin Donnelly

[7.5/10] Doom metal is the kind of genre of music that I can only take in small doses. And even then, if itís not done exceedingly well, it more often than not comes across as overly long, endlessly repetitive and downright tiresome. But every now and then, Iíll come across a doom metal release that will take me by complete surprise and remind me that while everything under the sun within the genre has been done countless times, when itís done well, it can be totally captivating. One such release is Sydney (New South Wales, Australia) based outfit Black Trillium, and their debut EP effort The Locked Woods EP.

Formed in early 2011, the two piece outfit (comprising of ex-EnviroCore/Ministerium multi-instrumentalists Simon Skipper and Zach Carlson) spent the better part of the year recording their collaborative effort, with The Locked Woods EP seeing the light of day midway through 2012. And after teasing listeners with various snippets of their work in progress over the last year, I can say that the end results live up to expectations.

The opening title track kicks off with a brief acoustic passage before the pair launches into full-on electric mode with an assortment of twisted riffs and a variety of grooving tempos changes. Matching the musical soundscape is the intensely brutal vocals, which add a blackened edge to proceedings. But then the band takes the listener on a completely different course around the three minute mark, with clean vocals and acoustic passages fleshing out the death/doom metal sound that initially determined the direction of the song.

The contrast and clashing of vocal/musical approaches is extremely well done, and in some ways brings to mind a mix of Opeth, My Dying Bride and early Paradise Lost. Oh, and the riff right at the tail end of the track is nothing short of magnificent. ďMy DeclineĒ is perhaps one of the EPís more accessible and straightforward sounding tunes with its memorable guitar riffs/lead breaks and heavily harmonised vocals, but still manages to pack a hell of a punch at just the right time, especially intense death metal-like section around the two-thirds mark.

ďThe Perfumed GardenĒ slows down the pace to showcase the darker and heavier aspects of the bandís doom metal sound while incorporating a mix of clean and growled vocals when the shift in speed takes place, while the closer ďRage Fuels My MasterpieceĒ lives up to its name with a sound thatís rooted more into a grooving death metal vein, but with enough variation shown throughout in terms of tempo changes and vocal approaches to keep things interesting throughout.

With a great production, quality song writing and diversity offered throughout every track, itís hard to find a single fault on Black Trilliumís debut offering. Although described as doom metal, Black Trilliumís sound is far more diverse and widespread than a simple genre tag. Black Trillium is a mix of an assortment of influences, and the end results are truly impressive. I for one can only hope that this collaboration is more than a one-off experiment, and that thereís more to come from the band in the future.

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