I’m not up to date on Industrial. I know I like …AND OCEANS and RAM-ZET, but I don’t know enough to say if TRISTWOOD is breaking new ground in their marriage of Death Metal and Industrial or if it’s old hat, though I can say they sound occasionally like THE PROJECT HATE (especially on “Daedae Taengri”). I think I can safely say they’re exaggerating when they call the style “Sophisticated Industrial Cybercore Art.” The Austrians put in a competent album, but I certainly wouldn’t call it sophisticated (that and art is a term that should be destroyed).
Anyhow. TRISTWOOD was formed in 1996, originally as DECEMBER. They broke up after a demo in 1997 and reformed in 2001 as TRISTWOOD. Summer 2003 saw the release of an MCD, “Fragments Of The Mechanical Unbecoming,” followed by a full-length, “Amygdala,” in 2004 and a reworking of pre-“Fragments…” songs as an EP, “Svarta Daudi” in 2005. “Svarta Daudi” was recorded in only ten hours, so they have some kvlt or tr00 credibility there.
I haven’t heard any of those albums, just their 2006 offering under question here, “The Delphic Doctrine.” Skip the dull intro and the self-titled sounds like brutal Death Metal tearing apart an electric rhythm. Eventually you realize the electric rhythm is still there, replaced in a few bars by a keyboard that’d sound more at home in a crappy CRADLE OF FILTH rip off group, while the precision of the drumming resembles a high-speed piledriver. Wash, rinse, repeat. The keyboard takes a bigger role on “Chronos” and you have your three sound pattern for the album; keyboard plays synth symph parts, keyboard plays electronic almost dance beats, or the band concentrates on brutal Death Metal. Sometimes you get one and two, but whenever the keyboards appear the attention paid to the guitars and bass diminishes.
Even when the Death Metal does take center stage, it never really shines. It’s competent and all, but nothing that will make you want to hit play again once the CD stops spinning. There are some interesting aspects and some places where the band could have done more, but they seem to have limited such creative possibility. It’s a shame; the transitions from brutality to synthesizing often feel arbitrary and forced and when the two try to coexist they feel like two arguing parties with the drums, a friend of each, desperately trying to hold things together and not always succeeding. A listen won’t kill you, but it’s nothing to go out of your way for. (Online June 13, 2006)