Trube - _Zone of Alienation_
(Dusktone, 2014)
by: Chaim Drishner (8 out of 10)
Argentinian one-man show Trube tread the same musical paths as Darkspace and Nychts / Mortualia on their joint venture _Nebelstern des Nichts_, in addition to probably being big fans of Blut Aus Nord's latter-day offerings of dissonant galore. Trube's music offers a very empty, very desolate, cold and dark atmospheric black metal of the spacey, shoegaze-y kind, having the ability to actually transcend the listener into otherworldly realms of (non) existence and strange dimensions.

Ironically enough, in contrast to the celestial ambient black metal on display, capable of penetrating parallel universes of bliss and nirvana and serve as a vehicle transporting the very listener to those unimaginable planes, the album's theme is anything but that, as it deals solely with the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster and its aftermath. So there's a paradox for you, if there ever was one: composing and playing the most ethereal, exquisite and magical form of black metal while digging deep and obsessing over one of the ugliest aspects of modernity and the insurmountable suffering this man-made mega-disaster has caused some 28 years ago.

_Zone of Alienation_ takes its name after the evacuated perimeter announced by the Soviet authorities (being an utter fallacy, because the radiation had spread much farther, beyond the alleged "safe zone") being a radius of at least 30 something kilometers revolving the disaster site; a huge area around the reactor where no life is supposed to be sustained for the next 20,000 years.

This is a spooky album; it has got all those Russian speakers in the background announcing the disaster in nonchalant, cold and emotionless intonation as if talking about the weekend's weather conditions (in a way, they were, ha!); couple that with instrumental black metal of the bleakest kind -- and there you have it: a large hole in the fabric of existence that is opening up, threatening to swallow you whole.

There are more paradoxes to be found on this stupendous recording, in addition to the one above mentioned. One being the way this album was recorded. Despite the fact it was released by a rather established label, the recording is somewhat muffled and raw, lending the musical textures underground characteristics that make the album all the more estranged and godforsaken, but surprisingly enough, the keyboard washes that dominate the greater part of the melody are completely clear, fronting the music with a crisp and full sound.

The metallic parts on _Zone of Alienation_ are mostly fast and dissonant, comprised of simple, steady-state hyperactive drum beats (but not blasts) and constant electric guitar strumming that generates a wall of sound with little variation note-wise, and a basic riff progression having an inherent discordant vibe contrasting the otherwise harmonious display of quasi-symphonic yet cold keyboard lines that are as apathetic as the Russian speakers heralding the cataclysmic news like some flesh and blood angels of death. More variation will you find in the slower, doom-laden parts and the dark ambient sections that appear in hefty quantities.

But the level of musicianship in all of its technical aspects is inconsequential in relation to this album; it's the atmosphere that counts here and answering the quintessential question whether or not the artist behind this intriguing project has succeeded in translating the Chernobyl tragedy into the language of music. The answer would have to be: yes, yes and yes.

The paradoxical astral soundscapes suggesting science fiction literature translated to music and put on tape, sounding like some soundtrack for a space odyssey into the deepest and darkest reaches of space, clash time and again with the earth-bound disaster that has no immediate representation in the music itself other than those sound bites where anonymous Russian speakers are talking in the background and the harrowing feeling of emptiness the music conjures. When one realizes what the album's theme is all about, and reads the introductory to this lyrics-less album, the acute desolation factor tremendously increases, because now the listener can listen to the music in the right context; this understanding of the concept of the album, coupled with the dread the music is painting, helps the listener to draw mental pictures of dead forests, deserted towns, human canon-fodders being sacrificed in the name of progress (progress?) and supreme agony, both of mother nature and everything living that had been suckling from her bosom, until everything became nothing...

As mentioned, _Zone of Alienation_ is basically an instrumental piece, but it is such an accomplished work of art just the way it is, no lyrics are essentially needed, because the music speaks for itself and manages to engineer such dense, pessimistic and apocalyptic an atmosphere, very few other bands / albums are even capable of scratching the surface of such an enveloping, bleak and despairing ambiance as the one that's being displayed on this record.

_Zone of Alienation_ balances right between Lorn's amazing _Subconscious Metamorphosis_ album from last year and the dark ambient / industrial soundscapes of Deep-Pression. If such a hybrid appeals to you, then waste not another moment and obtain this wonderful album of deep terror ASAP.

Contact: http://trube.bandcamp.com/

(article published 7/7/2014)


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