Troller: self-titled LP (Holodeck/Light Lodge, 2013)

April 18, 2013 at 12:34 am | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Troller

Troller

TROLLER! Easily one of my favorite new groups right now. Brad Rose is already calling this as the best album so far this year (regardless of the fact that it actually came out on tape last year), and I am entirely in agreement. And of course, the cover and band name make you think it’s going to end up being either doom or stoner metal, or something close to that realm, so first hearing a preview track online shattered all those preconceptions and really got me interested. I wasn’t sure what I was hearing, but it sounding incredible. So I was really lucky to score a review copy (especially since it sold out FAST, and probably will do so again when the second pressing comes out this summer) so I can enjoy this in all its full vinyl glory.

So what does it sound like? Well, it’s slow, dark, heavy, and haunted by some sort of ghosts. There’s six songs listed on the back, but there’s a few untitled instrumental interludes. The drum machines are evenly-paced (pacing is crucial here), seemingly basic but reverb-covered to the point of being almost explosive. There’s some gritty bass guitar lurking underneath. Heavy, heavy black atmosphere, and on the interludes (which unfortunately are truncated or left out entirely on the vinyl version), there’s a few reflective periods of kosmische synth meditation. Most importantly of all are the banshee-like vocals by Amber Star Ormand, which float spectre-like above the synths, but still ground them as structured songs. No clue what she’s actually singing (not at all a problem in my book), but they perfectly convey the sort of dark, sad, hope-possibly-lost-forever feeling the music works at. For some reason I keep getting the vocal melodies on this album mixed up in my head with that of the last track on Silver Dapple’s slept-on 2011 LP English Girlfriend (it’s not even on Discogs for some reason, jeez), mostly because of the pacing, vocal effects, letting-it-all-go feeling, and the fact that I can’t tell what she’s saying. Except the Silver Dapple song is fast, guitar-driven indie-pop, and Troller is dark, slow electronic music. I should also mention that I saw Troller live twice (in the same afternoon, actually) at SXSW this year, and the vocals sounded way different live. Instead of the sort of ethereal blur that they appear on the album, they were harshly distorted, almost industrial-sounding, and there was plenty of screaming, adding some violent terror to their sound. You’ll probably have to make it down to Austin to actually see them, but if you dig the album, their live show will still surprise and possibly frighten you even more. Also, one of the members of this band is also in S U R V I V E, who I also saw at SXSW, but I didn’t hear their album first and was overwhelmed at what I saw and heard. 4 musicians, mountains of synths, and more lasers than I could process. Unbelievable.

Anyway, this Troller album, seriously, get on this, now.

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