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(2 CD: 112:53, 'Trili')
Prolusion. TRILI is a four-piece band hailing from Puerto Rico. One of their two guitarists, Gaby, is also a member of the progressive metal band Ongo. The band’s recording debut, a demo titled “El Demito con To’Y Pedra”, released in 2006, was subsequently reworked and released as a two-CD set simply bearing the band’s name. On this album, Trili’s basic lineup is augmented by former guitarist Georgie and vocalist Lily. The band members prefer to be known only by their first names.
Disc 1 - “Trili Part 1” (55:27)
TRACK LIST: 1. Gabitronix-1 3:46 2. Depredador-1 5:19 3. Depredador-2 11:23 4. Dirt 6:35 5. Lliijaa 7:58 6. Otro Lugar-2 20:26 LINEUP: Orlando – bass Abey – drums Gaby – guitar Joel – guitar Lily – vocals Georgie – sax
Analysis. In spite of being the native land of one of the most creative musicians on the current prog scene, The Mars Volta’s mastermind Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, the island of Puerto Rico is not commonly known for its progressive rock. However, the few outfits that have come out of it in the past few years have shown definitely intriguing tendencies, injecting a healthy dose of modernity into a solid foundation of old-school prog. The two parts that make up Trili’s debut album feature six tracks each, mostly instrumental, with the exception of one song for each side. Though it may seem a rather unusual choice, in my view it only adds to the band’s freshness and appeal. Both sides offer a well-thought-out balance between shorter and longer tracks, setting an example that many much more seasoned bands would do well to follow. The quality of the compositions is consistently high, showing a surprising level of maturity. The music, fluid and energetic, also comes across as remarkably accomplished for such a young act. Though the band members draw their inspiration from a number of apparently disparate sources, such as classic rock, prog, punk, jam bands, jazz, blues, and Latin music, the final product never sounds as overtly derivative as is unfortunately the case with far too many new prog outfits. As a whole, the albums alternate high-energy, heavily guitar-based passages with slower, atmospheric, spacey ones. Disc 1, however, comes across as more disciplined, and therefore ‘accessible’, than Disc 2. One of the most striking features of Trili’s music is the sleek, dynamic interplay between the guitars, reminiscent of nineties-era King Crimson, and clearly evident in the album’s first two tracks, Gabitronix-1 and Depredador-1. The former also features some cool, Latin-flavoured rhythms at the beginning, while the latter shows some post-rock overtones. On the other hand, Dirt, the only song on the album, sung by part-time member Lily Valdez, is a slow, moody offering with a rather traditional verse-chorus-verse structure and includes a brilliant guitar solo. It comes as a refreshing surprise that neither of the two epics on the album overstays its welcome, in spite of their considerable length. The longest of them all, Otro Lugar-2, closes the first disc and could easily be called the band’s “Echoes” – Pink Floyd is undeniably their main inspiration here, as the Gilmour-like guitar sound suggests. However, far from being a mere tribute to one of the band’s idols, it reinterprets the classic PF prog-meets-psychedelia sound in distinctly modern terms, with a sharper bite to the faster, more energetic sections, and a pulsating, dreamy quality to the more spacey ones. On the other hand, Depredador-2 is probably the composition which most clearly shows the influence of modern prog prophets The Mars Volta (namely their second album, “Frances the Mute”), alternating high-volume, high-energy parts with quieter, more atmospheric ones.
Disc 2 - “Trili Part 2” (57.26)
TRACK LIST: 1. Otro Lugar 4:36 2. Gomoso Doble Cabeza 7:12 3. La Muerte Tambien Llora 17:40 4. Dentera 3:45 5. Waves 5:56 6. Gabitronix-2 18:17
Analysis. Though sharing the same structure as Pt. 1 (six tracks, one of which a song, and two epics), Disc 2 has a somewhat looser, more experimental feel, which can be especially detected in the two longer tracks. It is also distinctly more atmospheric, though obviously not devoid of frantic, highly charged moments bursting with energy and steel-sharp guitar lines. Otro Lugar, again featuring the vocals of Lily Valdez, opens the album in an unexpectedly subdued way, but gets definitely heavier towards the end, echoing the structure of TMV’s slower compositions such as The Widow or Televators. TMV influences also appear in the first of the two epics, La Muerte Tambien Llora, especially in the eerie noises at the beginning; then the track turns into an extended jam full of twists and turns, with understated, jazzy passages interspersed with the band’s trademark, supercharged riffing. Conversely, album closer Gabitronix-2 comes across as a more sparse, rarefied effort, with the omnipresent guitars sounding almost muted – the ideal continuation of Waves, a beautiful, spacey piece of music enhanced by some delicate acoustic guitar. As regards the rest of the tracks, more than a hint of math-rock surfaces instead in the angular, obsessive riffing of Dentera, featuring former guitarist Georgie Castro on sax; while Gomoso Doble Cabeza harks back to the KC-tinged sound evidenced on the first album – dynamic and quite heavy, based on a repetitive, almost obsessive riff over which the lead guitar is left free to emote. On the whole, like Disc 1, a very rewarding listening experience which leaves the listener intrigued and yearning for more.
Conclusion. Though issued as two separate albums, “Trili Pt.1 & Pt.2” complement each other perfectly, and are therefore meant to be listened to together, so as to get a complete picture of the band’s distinctive, eclectic approach to music. This double offering is warmly recommended to fans of complex, hard-edged, mainly instrumental prog. Definitely one of the most pleasant surprises of 2009 so far, and a band to watch.
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