After an explosive album in 2015 as well as a band hiatus, fans were practically begging Twenty-One Pilots to give them new music, so when the idea of “Trench” was released to the world, everyone went crazy. Well, honestly, crazy is an understatement. When diving into this album, it feels as if we are getting the Twenty-One Pilots aesthetic in small increments. However, when you listen to the album from front to back, it feels as if we are getting a more contemporary version of what was, at one point, so prime. Looking deeper into the music, it can be said that the band continuously gives the audience a simple instrumental make-up to counterbalance the extensive melodic content that comes from the vocal line. The vocal line varies across each selection, for in some moments the audience is receiving the quicker, spoken word, rapped vocal technique that set Twenty-One Pilots out among the masses in terms of artists, and in other moments, the vocalist is supplying the listeners with lullaby-like vocal techniques. This is strong for the album, for it provides a high amount of contrast that allows for a major level of juxtaposition, and that is only looking at the melodic line. Also, each track gives the audience contrast through the depth of texture that is imbedded in each selection. This occurs when the audience, at one moment, is getting larger than life breakdowns that resonate from a harder musical genre, but the band then immediately shifts to give the listeners a groove that is driven by a ukulele timbre. This shifting of texture helps to keep the audience on their toes, musically speaking, because this guides each track to sound in a different light: making each track uniquely themselves. Overall, I am giving this album a weak 4 out of 5 stars. I landed on this score for a variety of reasons. The first reason that I landed on this score is because this album is rather solid when looking at it in terms of its basic musical influences. The record will be well-received by the masses because it does hold some characteristic techniques by the band; however, this album is not next level fierce, and after having stellar releases such as “Vessel” and “Blurryface”, I was really expecting more from the band. To put it bluntly, this album has solid music on it, but it is kind of basic at its core.
“Jumpsuit”, “Chlorine”, and “Neon Gravestones”.
These tracks stick out among the pack when listening to this album as a whole for a few main reasons. The first reason is that these tracks will be the most memorable ones in the bunch because each of them provide the audience with a new enough timbre that will pull them far from the traditional Twenty-One Pilots brand, while still keeping them connected enough to be in the ballpark of the band. This shows the evolutionary potential of the band, which is inviting and intriguing the audience. Another main reason that these tracks stick out among the pack is the fact that each of these selections give the audience a different vibe than the rest of the record, which startles the listeners in the best way; thus, making these tracks the main event for this album.
When first glancing at the album cover for this album, it may shock audience members, for the cover isn’t as aesthetically pleasing as the previous releases for the band. In general, the album cover on its own isn’t very appealing, which may detract people from diving into the album. When comparing the music on the record to the cover art, it can be said that a hawk can symbolize the need to focus and embark on a specific path, and the lyrical content of this album holds to that concept. Throughout the record, the band takes the audience on a lyrical journey that is exaggerated through songs that aren’t specifically about this emotion or that emotion; rather, the band allows the audience to live through the emotions without telling them about them, which is pretty significant. Moreover, the cover art for this record does connect to the lyrical content of the album; however, the two don’t marry well, so I wouldn’t confidently say that this album cover is successful in terms of the success of the overall record.
*”Trench” was released on October 5, 2018 through Fueled by Ramen LLC.