Resilience is the second full-length album by Swiss power metal act Trophallaxy. It was released in 2013 through Brennus Music. Their previous album was DawnFall (2009), which was a self-released effort. It’s a good thing in my opinion that Trophallaxy have now got a label behind them because Resilience shows that they have quite a lot to offer the power metal genre.
Trophallaxy promote their music as symphonic power metal, only I haven’t found that to be an entirely accurate description of the music they have produced on Resilience. While their take on power metal is certainly a keyboard dominant type, which also utilises a cello, actual symphonic aspects are few and far between during the release, being used mostly for occasional flavour within what I think is better described as a progressive power metal album. When they are there the symphonic sounds can be quite dominant in the sound and be used for quite a while, but they do withdraw a fair bit to allow other aspects of the band’s music to take the lead. For example out of the early tracks, Living Dead, Dying Alive is primarily symphonic power metal, while the following Scar Me to Death is much more piano led, still with a few symphonic aspects, but overall much more of a progressive power metal song. It’s this sort of setup that follows during the rest of the album, giving it I’d say roughly a half and half split between symphonic power metal and progressive power metal music.
The keyboard and piano work of Jonathan Pellet is one of the strongest features in the release, and easily the key ingredient that makes Trophallaxy something special within the power metal genre. They are keyboard dominate without the cheese that usually comes with it. That’s quite a major achievement really. I don’t want to downplay the role the guitars of Yannick Rey play in the sound though. While not as aggressive as USPM or some of the German power metal bands his riffs add quite a heavy edge to the music and there are even a couple of times within the album, such as in The Condemnation, that his riffs move closer to thrash metal. The cello is another nice addition to Trophallaxy’s sound, especially during the lighter sections of music that they throw in, which sound very classical based.
Trophallaxy also have quite a modern power metal sound featuring a beauty and the beast vocal setup, although it’s nowhere near an equal split between the two vocalists, more like, at a rough estimate, 85% clean to 15% growls. The growls, also by keyboardist Jonathan Pellet, are quite deep and powerful which gives the album a slight death metal feel during the times they come in, but since the majority of the album is sung cleanly by female vocalist Joëlle Graz, who also plays the cello on the album, the growls feel like they’re there for flavour rather than to be the main focus of the songs they appear in, much like the symphonic elements in that respect. I quite like Pellet’s growling and the way he adds an extreme metal edge where needed in the release but Graz steals the show with a performance which blends in very well with the music. Resilience is one of those truly rare cases of a band getting everything in their sound just right to achieve maximum impact on their listeners.
With their decidedly non generic take on power metal coupled with a very high consistency of writing it’s pretty clear to me that Trophallaxy have produced one of the best power metal albums of 2013 in Resilience. A top tier rating is easily deserved. If you like power metal you should be getting this one now!
(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven: http://metaltube.freeforums.org/trophallaxy-resilience-t2959.html)