taking a listen

by Ryan Snyder

reviews of the moment

Trioscapes — Separate Realities

The marriage of jazz aesthetics and heavy metal restraint (or lack thereof) has historically favored scorched-earth finality that values visceral effect over pure composition, so it’s not surprising that that corner of fusion has long occupied the margins. With their debut Separate Realities, however, Greensboro threepiece Trioscapes submit an approach that finds a place for head-slamming aggression amidst collected phrasings straight out of Coltrane’s playbook. Though the album is not as heavily improvisational as one might expect, controlled outbursts by sax player Fancourt serve as terse interjections to the crushing rhythm of bassist Dan Briggs and drummer Matt Lynch while still veering skillfully away from mind-numbing shrieking. As a side project (Fancourt doubles as one of the accents in afro-funk band Brand New Life and Briggs is the bassist for metalcore giants Between the Buried and Me), Trioscapes not surprisingly shows different voices than those familiar with them have come to expect. Briggs is not the clean accompaniment for 12-minute sonic journeys that BTBAM know; he’s the sometimes intense and aggressive, sometimes articulate and dubby string pounder expressing undeniable chemistry with his equally impressive bandmates. Songs like ‘Wazzlejazzlebof” toy with the listener’s expectations by employing killer movement after another without ever developing the way one expects. It’s here that Lynch proves to be an astonishingly creative drummer, consistently varying the foundation in surprising ways that rolls with the group’s idiosyncratic approach. On the title track, Fancourt varies between piercing, exaggerated tones (projection over such a devastating rhythm section might be a necessity) and neatly conventional jazz phrases that cruise above the din with a haters-gonna-hate kind of swagger. It’s not as thrashy and punishing as fans of the really hard stuff may want, but it’s an excellent investigation of the trio’s power and range.


Trioscapes will release Separate Realities at The Broach Theatre this Friday.

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