Take a trip back in your audio time machine to a distant time when Y2K fears still pulsed and when Napster was just gaining national attention—in other words, the far-away retro years of 1999 and 2000, when Nu-Metal bands stalked the airwaves as unto a cloud of locusts. Canada’s TRIPCHORD are firmly stuck at the turn of the decade, plying a lamentable style that could have made them a name then but that just sounds unfortunate now.
There are two things to TRIPCHORD’s credit on “Surviving The System”: they don’t use breakdowns as much as they could (though “S & M” is the opprobrious exception), and vocalist Tommy Geraldes does have a pretty good clean voice. He seems to sound like a combination of Warrel Dane and that guy from GODSMACK, at times going further in one direction or the other. His screams, however, are on the weaker end of the generic spectrum. I can’t help but think that it was a bad move to include it so much.
Opener “Reject” especially sounds like something DISTURBED would have recorded, with Geraldes in full Warrel Dane mode. “Fist Full Of Rage” has KORN-style bass work and is clearly their big bid for the mosh pit. The song that really caught my attention was “Aggravate.” It just sounds so weak, so limp. The guitar is intensely under produced, leaving Geraldes’ unfortunate growling to cover. In general, the guitars on “Surviving The System” aren’t as heavy as you expect from Nu-Metal, but in “Aggravate” it just sounds like the band lacks conviction in what they’re doing. That stigma never really fades and in fact infects later listening. “Aggravate” so thoroughly exudes mediocrity that it retroactively worsens the music you’ve already heard.
I can’t even see die-hard Nu-Metal/Modern Metal fans really getting into this. The music is usually cliché, never inventive, and lacking in anything resembling intensity. There’s just nothing to justify spending your hard earned dollars, Euros, kronur, or rubles on this release.
There’s a hidden song, “Delusion” after several minutes of silence following “Hide Jeckyll.”
(Online February 10, 2007)