Trepalium – H. N. P.


Review by Jason Guest

France has produce a shitload of great bands. Gojira, Blut Aus Nord, Klone, Hypno5e, Alcest, Deathspell Omega, Les Discrets, the list goes on. Add to that list another of the Klonosphere bunch, Trepalium, a band that have been around since 2001 and have been simultaneously labelled death metal, groove metal, and modern thrash, usually with “progressive” added in there somewhere. Much like Pantera, Trepalium manage to combine technical prowess with groove and maintain a suitable level of head-banging heaviness as well as a flair for fluency in their song-writing. The technical aspect of the band is nowhere more present than in the riffs, each a cascade of fretboard dexterity and death metal brutality. Where death metal bands that seek to bash in a monster groove usually fall foul of merely appending or bolting on a riff or two that grooves, Trepalium’s capacity for feel pervades every instance of H.N.P., the band’s fourth album.

‘Heic Noenum Pax’ is as tight and precise as Meshuggah and melodic as the Swedish. ‘Prescription Crisis’ combines late 80s thrash with a jarring technicality that spills over into the 7/4 riff of ‘Slave The World’. And the discordance of ‘Order The Labyrinth’ as well as its melodies and juggernaut riffs is vast in scope and impact. With their combined strengths and diverse capabilities as both musicians and writers established in the opening four tracks, the remainder of the album sees more of their penchant for experimentation with funky, even jazzy grooves and disparate riffs, feels and time-signatures. ‘I Was’ will have many baffled as they struggle to identify the down beat while they still bang their heads in perfect unison. The production means that while every note, every harmony, and every beat is crystal clear, it can sound flat, the tracks perhaps deserving a bit more dirt to instil them with the might that they inspire. But given the magnificent combination of dynamics, grooves, and technical prowess, this is only a minor flaw. Remarkable musicianship, great riffs and lead work, a stunning vocal performance, and a bunch of killer grooves, you’ll be hard pushed to find an album of such high quality.

7.5 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Heic Noenum Pax
  2. Prescription Of Crisis
  3. Slave The World
  4. Order The Labyrinth
  5. Insane Architect
  6. Let The Clown Rise
  7. I Was
  8. The Worst Friend
  9. Raining Past
  10. I’m Broken (Pantera cover)


  • You may also want to check out Jason’s review of guitarist Harun Demiraslan’s tech/prog band Step In Fluid here.