Hear Troller, as they’re chased by their demons through cold, grotty, post-apocalyptic streets. ‘Graphic’ sees the Texas outfit fittingly follow up their 2012 self-titled album with more spacious, unforgiving and impactful instrumentals. Nothing is left to the imagination, every foundation is built on, every bit of canvas is covered.
It’s actually quite hard to give Troller a definitive label; they have the artistic angst of post-punk, the crumbly despair of doom metal, the neo noir chaos of industrial and a few electronic/experimental traits to boot. As mentioned, there is an emphasis on instrumental significance, and the track ‘They Body’ is perhaps the best example on the album of this being pulled off successfully. Atmosphere-wise, it’s actually a lot different to the rest of the record, it’s bright, it’s inspirational, it’s still set in the same land of dread as the majority of other tracks, but there are a few rainbows present. ‘Storm Maker’ follows, and it has a similar purpose, there’s no terror, no danger, just bleakness, and it’s a really beautiful kind of bleakness.
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Songs like ‘Hellscape’ and the titular track pretty much lay down the setting for everything that comes after, that hellacious struggle, that anti-structure. These types of songs come with immense feeling, but intrigue isn’t always present, and the listener will be most likely to go back to the previously-mentioned, prettier songs and pieces.
Some tracks are quite intense, particularly ‘Nothing’, a song that dives in and out of hopeful major key-lead chord progressions and ultimately darker sections, all with authentically incoherent vocals and high-soaring lead melodies. Songs like this grant the listener a lot to sink their teeth into, even if a lot of ‘Graphic’ ends up being fairly forgettable.
The blending of styles is admirable and it makes for a pretty unique overall sound, but compositionally, there is a lot more to be desired on ‘Graphic’. Troller essentially do everything adequately at the core of things, the spaciousness of the music, the atmosphere, but considering how they’ve progressed since their previous album, a lot more could’ve been done. The approach is more momentous, but the execution is somewhat lacking.
‘Graphic’ is out now via Holodeck Records
This Troller article was written by Ben Malkin, a GIGsoup contributor