If France’s TREPALIUM, a Progressive Metal quintet from Boismé, Poitou-Charentes, sound a little bit like French-brethren GOJIRA, don’t haphazardly cast them aside as copycats - after all, their first album, "Absurd", was in fact produced by GODZILLA frontman Joe Duplantier – for TREPALIUM's third studio effort is a groove-laden piece of calculated Progressive Metal all its own.
Meaning ‘labor’ in Latin and linked with the root ‘travel,' TREPALIUM (tripalium) is also a three-staked instrument of torture that is used to restrain its subject until fire is employed. Albeit never a painful experience, this rollicking album breathes smoke with rapid fire drumming, werewolf vocals, and intriguing string arrangements that never sink into pretension or muddled boredom.
Jazzy at times, and down-right menacing at others, "XIII" delivers the goods in heaps of hellacious head-banging while generating a fulsome sound all self-gratifying Metal fans should appreciate. It should be noted, however, that the album may not appease the tastes of speed fans. The tempo throughout is quick, jerky, and at times, ferocious, but seldom-heard are the splattered blast-beats of Thrash or Death Metal.
A friend of mine told me a joke a while back asking me “Why did God give seagulls wings?” Already breaking out in a grin, he responded with “So they could beat the French to the dump!” I was reminded of this joke because, simply enough, TREPALIUM traveled to the Heavy Metal junk yard to write "XIII." It’s fraught with such great and diverse style, so rarely used in modern Metal (at least successfully), that it clangs and booms with heinous satisfaction.
Songs like “Inner Hell," “Addicted To Oblivion," “Usual Crap," “Glowing Cloud," and a ghost instrumental entitled “Clockwork” at the end of the album are all tremendously righteous examples of why "XIII" rocks.
(Online April 22, 2010)