REVIEW: TRONOS – “Celestial Mechanics”
Best known as the bassist with Napalm Death and a prolific collaborator in the world of metal music Shane Embury is renowned for his eclectic taste in music. So, it comes as no surprise that he is back once again with a new project designed to explore new depths accompanied by one of the most original producers in the industry today, Russ Russel. Upon deciding on the core ideals of the new venture these two maverick extremists are joined by veteran and current Megadeth drummer Dirk Verbeurin to give us Tronos. Not to be confused with the aviation company, it is Spanish for thrones, representing a metaphorical means of travel across their interpretation of “the universal cycle, an extension of mankind, and end of days” hoping that in the end, we will be ok. Comprising of music made in support with some reputed musicians like Billy Gould, Troy Sanders, Denis ‘Snake’ Belanger, Dan Liker, and Erica Nockalls; we’re here to discuss Tronos’ 2019 studio album – ‘Celestial Mechanics’
The artwork isn’t much, but an album is supposed to represent a post-apocalyptic journey through the cosmos starting off with ‘Walking among dead things’ which has a sludgy tone and develops differently through the progression of the song. It’s got some distinctly unique time signatures and an interesting build up toward the third quarter which introduces some melody into it. The next two songs have a typically gothic element to it, ‘Judas Cradle’ the more biblical one along with ‘The Ancient Deceit’. Embury’s crisp and clear bass can be heard ringing throughout and it adds a lot of depth and layers to the music. ‘The past will wither and die’ is somewhere between sludge and drone. It attempts to present it itself as the anarchic anthem number of the record but ends up being more of an edgy atmospheric. The album shifts into a progressive state from the mid-point. ‘A treaty with reality’ is a menacing slow burner that unearths some truth behind our existence. ‘Voyeurs of Natures tragedy’ serves to be the ballad of this album while ‘Birth Womb’ delves into some black metal. The album comes into its own element with ‘Premonition’ and ‘Beyond the stream of consciousness’ having the more celestial sound among the rest and feel more closely related with the objective of the album. It carries the essence of being among the cosmic with its atmospheric effects and choices of riff pieces which work well together. This album comes to close with final track ‘Johnny Blaze’, a cover song originally done by the legendary Black Sabbath is the only track on the album with a guitar solo as the rest rely heavily on atmospheric effects to elevate them. It’s a good cover, but depending on how you see it, it’s either a refreshing surprise or a very out of place song on the overall journey.
‘Celestial Mechanics’ is an interesting experiment, but the question is how much is too much. It’s got a wide spread of sound and exhibits the vast variety of music within various subgenres of metal from progressive to black elements and even some old school heavy metal. Dirk’s drumming does the record justice, Shane’s bass is prominent, vocals ripping, and Russell’s got some neat riffs up his sleeve and all participating members have their signatures embedded into the record. However, it has a hard time keeping you engaged is it seems unable to land in any one zone throughout and comes into its own element very late in the journey. Production is, for the most part, good but muddy in section. I understand that this is an experimental record and is difficult to classify under one umbrella, I’m also pretty sure that’s what they were going for when they made it. But at just under 50 minutes long it has one too many twists and turns changing direction a but fast preventing me from stopping to appreciate and absorb it, often feeling like multiple slightly disconnected set pieces rather than one seamless experience.
‘Celestial Mechanics’ is an exhibition showing how vast the genre of metal music is, it experiments with a wide variety of style and sound throughout the length of it however this vast experimentation often leads to disconnected feel as it doesn’t let you land in any zone…unless that’s what they were going for.