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Trusties: Untouchable

One of the first albums I reviewed on joining the Sea of Tranquility team some seven-plus years ago, The Human Wheel from Finnish quintet Trusties has stood the test of time well. Which when you consider it was the last time we heard from the band until now, is just as well. Slimmed down to a quartet with guitarist/keyboardist Ari Sutinen having moved on, the remaining members of singer Matti Ylilauri, guitarist Oikku, bassist Ville Veijalainen and drummer Janne Ervalius, finally return with Untouchable.

Never a band to shy away from tough subjects, what Trusties have taken on with their latest work may be one of the most immersive concepts I've encountered. The album putting you into the mind of Arthur The Martyr, a seemingly normal kid who is planning a mass murder. With all the pieces revolving around the altered reality of its protagonist, an easy ride this is not. Something which is to be commended, even as it makes this a difficult album to ever truly get under the skin of. In fact so convincingly have Trusties morphed into the character they are portraying, that even taking into account the seven year gap and slight line-up change undergone, if I'd heard this album 'blind', I would never have guessed that it was Trusties at all. In many ways that's a compliment. After all, if you're going to take on deep, harrowing, relevant subject matter, then what's the point in not going 'all in'? Where the difficulty arises is that while this album proves decidedly abrasive on first encounter, even numerous revisits don't really break down those barriers.

Ylilauri barks, howls and screams as he conveys Arthur's anguish, although he also sings superbly too and while he is perfectly in character, when combined to a collection of grating riffs and guitar stabs, the album's wish to make you recoil possibly works just too well. It's not just that the band's attack has moved from prog rock with a strong hint of metal, to a more metal with a hefty does of prog assault, because everything is actually executed with a real sense of skill and craft. But more that the concept seems to have consumed things to such an extent that it becomes the main driving force behind not just the lyrics, or indeed the music, but the tone, atmosphere and attack of Untouchable.

I'd be lying if repeat listens haven't somewhat unlocked this early pain and torment to become a surprisingly involving story, Arthur never played into the hateful stereotype we'd like to believe a real person who could carry out the acts discussed here could only ever be, but not always are. But neither do these first half album exchanges ever really become engaging in the sense that you lose the impression the album is happening in a world that you never quite manage to enter. Although as things progress through the multi-part "Return To The Surface Of The Earth", "Exposed To Light" and "The Last Wish", so the instrumentation, which has been uniformly excellent throughout, is given more room to breathe. The harshness from before giving way at least some of the time to a more soothing approach that proves ready to let you in.

Much though Untouchable is a hard album to get to know, or indeed to fully engage with, it is hugely to Trusties' credit that they've created a concept piece so consumed by its message, that it is conveyed at every turn. The only problem is that it might actually be a little too successful, if that's possible? All that said, Untouchable has a huge amount to offer. It's seldom, if ever going to be background listening, and even with your full attention sometimes feels like it's actively trying to push you away. That the character driving its story could also be described in exactly the same manner, is possibly its crowning achievement.

Track Listing
1. Arrival from Within 2:14
2. Slave of the Song 3:29
3. Quicksand 2:45
4. Loner in the Lonely Land 2:43
5. There's Nothing Out There 3:18
6. Children of the Machine 5:50
7. A Grave Inside Me 1:26
8. Outside of Place and Time 4:23
9. A Dream I Never Had 5:21
10. Return to the Surface of the Earth 6:35
Empty Minds United
Human Hater
Talking to Myself
11. Exposed to Light 2:49
12. Room of New Life 1:30
13. The Last Wish

Added: October 11th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Trusties on Facebook
Hits: 2175
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Trusties: Untouchable
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2018-10-11 23:04:38
My Score:

The loss of innocence, the loss of one’s self. Just what causes a human being to lose their humanity and to commit mass murder? It’s an unsettling and weighty topic and one that is all too prevalent in today’s society. That is the subject matter tackled by Finnish progressive rock band Trusties on their fourth album Untouchable released in 2016.

First a bit of history on the band. They formed in 1989 as an acoustic three piece and released their first album Growing Smaller in 1989. We Just Want To Rule The World (2003) followed by Human Wheel (2009), my first exposure to the band, leads us to their latest offering which I had regrettably forgotten about since only recently.

The disc contains thirteen tracks with varying lengths with nine tracks under four minutes and four over five, including the album ending eleven minute “The Last Wish”. The band mixes progressive metal and heavy prog moments with symphonic and neo progressive touches with a very modern approach. This is also one of the catchiest progressive albums I have heard in a while as the hooks are frequent. At times the music takes on darker tones, to be expected considering the subject matter while breezier more uplifting moments also take precedence. All the while the band creates a beautiful flow that is never jarring or out of place.

The album opening instrumental “Arrival From Within” is a cinematic/symphonic piece with a beautiful melody, majestic strings and tasty lead guitar. The music quickly gets heavier with “Slave Of The Song” transitioning into hard hitting progressive metal. The staccato riffs turn into lighter guitar supplemented with fine backing vocals. On “Quicksand” there is a hint of Moon Safari, especially the choir-like backing vocals. A mix of heavy prog with softer acoustic guitar makes for an addicting tune. “Loner In The Lonely Land” includes darker elements with talking vocals and edgy guitar work. In contrast is the symphonic neo prog of “There’s Nothing Out There”, where the protagonist seems to be struggling within trying to keep his dark thoughts held in check. A darker edge surrounds “Children Of The Machine” where acoustic guitar and intense electric riffs go hand in hand. The catchy “Exposed To Light” displays fast guitar chops and a deliciously melodic vocal arrangement. One of the best tracks is “The Last Wish” which has the band stretching out musically offering heavier progressive metal crunch, moody cinematic movements and fantastic lead vocals. Another melodic gem with enough change ups that should satisfy many of our readers.

Untouchable is just an excellent album. I only wish I would have got to it sooner. Released on Sound of Wood Records.

» Reader Comments:

Trusties: Untouchable
Posted by brayn on 2022-07-19 11:09:06
My Score:

I am also listening to this type of music. It creates inspiration and feels like admiring someone with bravery. I started listening to it from assignmenthelper reviews and then I became a lover of it.

Trusties: Untouchable
Posted by brayn00 on 2022-07-19 10:58:54
My Score:


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