Trephine(MD) - Trephine - Public Guilt 2005
Running Time: 39:53
Yeah, because all we need is another band from Maryland primed and ready to kick your ass. Named after an ancient surgical procedure for releasing demons from the head by way of saws and scalpels, Baltimore's Trephine swing wide of the state's more doom-cum-trucker rock sounds in favour of more invasive (pun intended) operation.
The languid fluidity of the beginning minute or so of 'Goes To Hell, Mr. Wiggles (Part One)' would lead you to believe otherwise, but once the dual percussion team of Dave Batovsky and Don Baumer (since replaced by Chris Meszler) start pounding out their rhythmic fury, it's all over but the rocking. 'Age Of Reptiles' pimp-struts with a funk sensibility, the stuttering walk punctuated every few steps by a ragged riff that would do Meatjack proud. Will Doane's spot-on basswork is a highlight throughout much of this full-length debut, at once intelligent and dangerous, recalling (in delivery) some of Mike Watt's material from the firehose days. Where Trephine succeeds is in their fearlessness. To listen intently to this CD is like checking yourself into a burning hotel and rushing to the top floor hoping to be on the roof when the building finally explodes. Trephine throws more curves at the listener than almost any other band, excepting Genghis Tron, and drags you along for the ride across a bed of straight up metal riffage and convoluted found percussion. 'Resident Advisor' lurches like a stalled dragster before slipping into a "lounge act from Hell" bass pattern, repeats the process a few times, and comes out on the other side with 'Adrenochrome'. Easily the most accessible song on the album, 'Adrenochrome' spot-welds crusted chord flailings (courtesy of lone yet incredibly capable guitarist Chuck Collins) to bass-driven mania. This is one of those few times that I can honestly say a band has delivered the total package with their debut album, yet not sold themselves short on playing the music they enjoy in order to seem more "scene".
If your CD racks at home look like a Willowtip stockroom, do yourself a favour and pick up Trephine. You could do much, much worse...but you'd be hard-pressed to do better. An impressive first showing which deserves a larger audience than it will probably get.