Godless Rising - Trumpet of Triumph
Moribund Cult
Death/Thrash/Traditional Metal
11 songs (44'29")
Release year: 2010
Moribund Cult
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

If you would like to have your stereotypes about Satanic death metal broken, look no further than the latest album by Godless Rising Trumpet of Triumph. Blessing in disguise being the usual reason, first it took the band’s founder and soul Jeff Gruslin (formerly of Vital Remains) to once again lose his entire oft-changing lineup. This momentous event or some other deep running metal connection caused Jeff to hook up with Toby Knapp. Yes, it is the same Toby Knapp, technical guitar wizard, who once tried to push Onward to the top of the traditional power metal heap. And, yes, it is the same Toby Knapp who put out a few guitar technique videos along the way. Nothing seemingly hinted at Toby having a dark streak, but in-depth research actually shows him leading or being the sole person behind several obscure black, thrashy US metal acts which never received much recognition. With Godless Rising, having written all of the music with the exception of the re-recorded earlier song Devour the Cross, Toby capitalized on the chance to channel all of his guitar playing talents into a powerful amalgam of death, thrash and traditional metal, while providing Jeff Gruslin a podium to spew forth his Christian god cursing manifesto.

As much as the cover of Trumpet of Triumph is old-school black, silvery white and red print, the album’s contents are anything but by-the-book Satanic blast oriented death metal. Without resorting to that tried and true rhythmic approach unnecessarily, Godless Rising is nonetheless blistering, rolling seamlessly from technical shreds (Christ Cadaver) to mowing thrash (title track and Warlords of Darkness) to tight death metal rumbling (We Are Legion). What sets Godless Rising of today further apart is stunning guitar note bending, which indeed makes it sound like Hell’s own trumpets bellowing from the depths (Where is Your God Now, Damnation of Angelic Souls, We Are Legion), and their introduction of traditional metal harmonies throughout the album. With the guitars going at an angle, sideways towards the rest of the flow, the band manages to capture a true face of evil, without resorting to gimmicks. The melodies, on the other hand, are adding heroic prideful attitude to this evilness, making the listener stand up shaking both fists in the air when a glorious guitar hook follows “the demonic spell” lyrics in Ungodly Incantations. It is that hook which makes you want to return to that cut, plowing it over and over again, discovering the uncharted depth. Who said complex arpeggios have no room in true death metal?

Blessed by Knapp’s brilliant guitar and bass play (he handles all of the strings), Jeff Gruslin is left to his vocal devices to deliver the message. Propping his voice in front of the mix, lyrics often audible, he uses a mixture of low growls (totally soul devouring) and higher snarls (which could use a bit more spite) to let the weaklings know exactly where the blind faith in a questionable and weak god will lead them. Speaking of production, the conscious shift into a much cleaner and crispier realm was a must given the guitar complexities on the album. Anything less would absolutely devalue the strings weaves and layers making the album’s original fabric. Even older cuts like Devour the Cross benefit from the cleaner facelift.

The first pair of Godless Rising albums were solid, but very much inside-the-box death metal, where Gruslin really did little to differentiate himself from Vital Remains. Trumpet of Triumph is a completely different and unexpected beast, just as nasty, but now slicing with a scalpel instead of bashing with a hammer. It remains to be seen if the duo cooperation will continue with Jeff based in Rhode Island and Toby residing in Wyoming (or was it Montana?) the last I heard.

Killing Songs :
Ungodly Incantations, Damnation of Angelic Souls, Devour the Cross, Through the Flames of Rage
Alex quoted 83 / 100
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