Troller - Graphic
Crucial Blast
Darkwave
10 songs (44' 1")
Release year: 2016
Reviewed by Andy

Graphic, Austin-based Troller's second album, combines the cold synthetics of darkwave with a bit of metal roughness, resulting in a sound like a colder, harsher version of The Cocteau Twins. There's a lot of emotion in there, but it's so mixed in with freezing synth and slow drum-machine beats that almost all of it is steeped in a dreamy aura of menace.

Bassist/vocalist Amber Goers' ethereal vocals do have a bit in common with Elizabeth Fraser's, but there's a hard edge to them that was missing in her influences', and the slow dance beat that kicks in on the title track has a dogged purpose to it that hardly seems to mean anyone well. The bass is soft and thumping, buried under the synths on the rhythm, whose abrasion occasionally emphasizes the drawn-out, shoegaze-style vocals, other times adding counterpoints as Goers hits a sharp note. Troller's best when it stays dark; Storm Maker loses out on a lot of the flowing, dream-becomes-a-nightmare atmosphere that the other tracks have with an overly pretty melody that doesn't sound like it belongs on the rest of the album.

Far superior is the sultry sound of Nothing, done with a minimalistic set of whining synth pedals droning at the bottom of a moody tune sung in two octaves by Goers. Another of the best songs, and certainly the longest, is Torch, the final track. Starting with slow ambience, it builds up slowly underneath Goers' vocals, which nearly hit operatic territory, until an introspective but catchy dance starts up, with a warm 80s New Wave synth punctuated with drum claps.

Without a whole lot of traditional metal elements, Graphic might not be for everyone, but the dark sound alone had me quickly hooked. If you like darkwave, or are a metal fan who doesn't mind synth, Graphic is worth a whirl.

Bandcamp: https://troller.bandcamp.com/album/graphic.

Killing Songs :
Graphic, Torch
Andy quoted 82 / 100
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