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TRACK LIST: 1. Radiobeings 9:41 2. Autopilot 4:52 3. Free Fall 4:49 4. Rituals & Routines 6:00 5. Human Wheel 4:08 6. When Sense Meets Its Maker 6:34 7. Them Or Us 6:10 8. Djemoniee 5:16 9. Is This the Last Round 1:26 10. You Can Only Lose 3:55 11. Endless Run 7:39 12. Reinvention of the Wheel 8:58 LINEUP: Matti Ylilauri vocals Marko Oikarinen guitar Ville Veijalainen bass Janne Ervelius drums Ari Sutinen guitar; keyboards
Prolusion. The Finnish act TRUSTIES was formed in 1997, initially as a band exploring a style of music with solid folk music associations. As the years have gone by, band members have expanded their sonic palette though, adding electric instruments to their second album. 2009 saw the band sporting a new line-up, as well as the release of its third album, a concept creation named "Human Wheel".
Analysis. Expanding the sound and repertoire of a band is a challenging task. This band from the land of a thousand lakes seems to have been doing that throughout the now 13 years they have existed (when reading up on their past), and it is indeed an approach worth supporting and applauding. It takes a certain amount of courage to change and evolve, even more so when evolving into highly different sounding musical landscapes. Musically I'd describe this album as following in the tracks of late 70s Rush to some extent. The guitars and bass in particular have a sound and timbre that should be familiar to those who enjoy the exploits of the Canadian trio, and the manner in which the compositions are structured, with frequent use of staccato patterns, should also resonate well among the fans of Lee, Lifeson and Peart. Trusties doesn't stay put in that vein though and does branch out towards a more distinct progressive metal sound at times, and occasionally it incorporates elements more similar to the lighter forms of 80s metal in their exploits as well, the latter often described as hair metal. And while all dominating expressions are musically related, the band does see to it that quite a lot of variation is added to the compositions, perhaps a bit too much. Personally I found the compositional structures to be something of a weakness with this act. Perhaps more to do with personal taste than an objective analysis as such, but I did find many of the tracks here to be somewhat directionless. Many instances of changes inserted where I couldn't hear any logical reason for the change of direction, build-ups of moods and atmospheres taken into new territories before reaching a conclusion, frequent insertions of instrumental bursts disrupting the flow of a theme and breaking down an atmosphere still in development. Normally I enjoy changes and disruptions, but in too many instances on this particular disc I didn't manage to grasp what the band was trying to achieve with them. Apart from inserting a different sounding segment here and there, these sequences didn't really come across as having a well thought out purpose. As for the occasions when these traits are less bothersome, I'd point to the ballad Djemoniee and the harder rocking You Can Only Lose as examples of Trusties at its best; both of them solid, intriguing tracks that present the best overall creations on "Human Wheel" according to my perception.
Conclusion. Trusties is a talented act, and while arguably coming across as somewhat unfinished on "Human Wheel" there's no denying the talent, and while many songs failed to impress me in general, most of them did contain a number of interesting ideas and fascinating individual passages. I do suspect that quite a few fans of late 70s Rush might fancy the sound and style of this act though, and recommend them to lend an ear to the efforts of this act.
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