On a cold Tuesday night in February, Tufnell Park was treated to the unusual yet infectious combination of swing jazz and death metal provided by France’s Trepalium. The band were there to kick off their UK tour in support of the worldwide release of their “Damballa’s Voodoo Doll” EP (renamed from “Voodoo Moonshine” due to legal threats from America, according to bassist Ludovic) accompanied by Hole In The Sky and The Brood. Here’s how it went down.
Opening the evening were local grinders The Brood , who were missing a guitarist (performing just as a 4 piece) but bringing a fair amount of home support. The band struggled through sound issues which didn’t clear up until near the end of their set, and didn’t help their performance, but the set was warmly received by the crowd and a better mix may help them in future.
After a brief break it was the turn of Brighton’s Hole In The Sky , who also had early problems with a muddy sound but persevered and fared much better than The Brood. Performing with new guitarist Matt Smith there were a couple of slip ups, particularly in their new song known only as “Gorillas Wear Glasses” at the time (I have since been reliably informed by their vocalist Monty that it was only finished a few days before the show), but overall the set was rather impressive with some nods to the likes of Gojira and Decapitated (not only in the vocalist’s appearance) and some impressive solos, particularly in middle tracks “Mechanical Man” and “Invaders”. If the members could become more active around the stage and engage the crowd a little more, they could become a lethal live act.
After this it was time for the headline act. After over 13 years in the game they’ve had plenty of time to hone their sound and yet even now they’re finding new ways to reinvent themselves. Swing jazz is not normally something you’d think as having a place in metal but Trepalium  have found a way to get you headbanging and snapping your fingers at the same time with the powerful grooves that have always been a staple of their sound combining with frenetic jazz rhythms and time signatures. Opening with the lead single from their new EP, “Moonshine Limbo” immediately gets the crowd going and the pace doesn’t end as the quintet powers through a mix of new and old material (although sadly neglecting their early albums), inflicting a new swing groove to the older tracks to make the set flow more smoothly. Trepalium don’t miss a beat and only suffer from minor sound issues which would never affect them in a bigger venue which one hopes they’ll be able to play at in the near future. All their hard work is starting to gain them international attention and, having found their own unique style, one can only hope they can build on this. Closing with “Usual Crap” the crowd gives them an incredible reception and I for one sincerely hope we see these guys back in the UK soon.
Trepalium’s Setlist Was:
Sick Boogie Murder
Possessed By The Nightlife
Fire On Skin
Damballa’s Voodoo Doll