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Trusties: Human Wheel

Starting out as an acoustic three piece of Matti Ylilauri (vocals) Marko "Oikku" Oikarinen (guitar) and Ville Veijalainen (bass), Trusties debut album Growing Smaller was released in 1997. Having then slowly evolved through second album We Just Want To Rule The World, which saw the band begin to use electric instrumantation, before going the whole hog and expanding into a five piece by bringing Janne Ervelius (drums) and Ari "Suti" Sutinen (guitar/keys) in to help recreate the songs live. Third album Human Wheel is the bands first written and recorded with all five members on board.

Based on the concept of a "test subject" who is doomed to travel on the "human wheel" forever witnessing the history of humanity repeat itself over and over, lyrically the album is both interesting and bleak in equal amounts, illustrating the strengths and weaknesses of the human race during our time on this planet. Quite some task, but one that is pulled off with some considerable style.

Musically the album also combines bleakness, but this time with some inspirational atmospheric melodies. There are wide and various influences on show throughout, probably the most prevelant comparison that could be made would be to The Pineapple Thief as Trusties display that same kind of melancholic subtlty counterpointed with sharp tight riffs that bring a good sense of balance to their music.

For a band that started out as an acoustic three piece, the complexity and breadth of the modern progressive music on show on Human Wheel is a pleasure to behold. Opener "Radiobeings" hits the ground running and over it's near ten minutes duration every band member gets an opportunity to display their considerable talents. An insistantly catchy riff combines well with Oikku's mesmerising keyboard line and Veijalainen's intricate bass. "Free Fall" has a more mellow feel, showing an element of Dream Theater in their more introspective moments, however what's on show here is definitely more progressive rock than metal and the likes of the title track suggest that Trusties have certainley listened to Opeth's eerier more atmospheric moments before using long, strong guitar and keyboard stretches in the way that Fish would to build the tension.

The stop start feel of track six, "When Sense Meets It's Maker", feels almost theatrical in places and allows the strong, rich vocals of Matti Ylilauri to shine. He is a very accomplished story teller and his gravely commanding tones give the songs an authourity and believability which help the concept of the album flow.

Initial listens to the disc give the impression of a slow, mellow introspective soundscape and that to be fair is a true reflection of what is on offer here, however once you live with Human Wheel for a while, you realise that there is a whole lot more to discover. The Satriani inspired guitar solo on "Endless Run", the insistant riff and vocal dexterity on "You Can Only Lose" or the almost feel good vibe of the vocal harmonies, excellent guitars and Janne Ervelius's intricate drums on "Autopilot" highlighting the variety of the songs.

With interesting time signatures, delightful guitar, keyboard and bass inter changes along with intelligent and thought provoking lyrics sung by a singer with a wide sphere of influences and impressive range, Trusties third album is modern progressive rock presented in a most interesting and involving way.

Repeated listens will be rewarded.


Track list:

  1. Radiobeings 9:41
  2. Autopilot 4:52
  3. Free Fall 4:49
  4. Rituals & Routines 6:00
  5. Human Wheel 4:08
  6. When Sense Meets Its Maker 6:34
  7. Them Or Us 6:10
  8. Djemoniee 5:16
  9. Is This The Last Round? 1:26
  10. You Can Only Lose 3:55
  11. Endless Run 7:39
  12. Reinvention Of The Wheel 8:58

Added: September 13th 2009
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2778
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Trusties: Human Wheel
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2009-09-13 23:37:01
My Score:

Trusties are one of those bands that have slipped beneath my radar but have they ever got my attention now. Their fine new album entitled Human Wheel was released in June on Sound of Wood Records. Making up this Finnish quintet are Matti Ylilauri (lead vocals, percussion), Marko Oikarinen (guitars, vocals, keyboards), Janne Ervelius (drums), Ari Sutinen (guitars) and Ville Veijalainen (bass, vocals, keyboards). The band mixes progressive rock with elements of pop, metal, jazz fusion and probably a few other genres that I heave not discovered yet. I have listened to this CD a few times now and its still revealing elements not previously heard. Guitar is central to the band's sound, either in the form of juicy rhythms or exceptional lead work. Oikarinen has the ability to incorporate jazz fuison, metal and even elements of shred into his solos. I would be remiss if I did not mention the tight rhythm section. Its refreshing to actually hear the bass player and the drummer excels at tricky rhythms and patterns. Keyboards are also used effectively, in the background and as a lead instrument, adding texture where required. The vocals are also very good as Ylilauri has a pleasant voice and the background harmonies are tastefully executed.

Human Wheel contains many highlights but you need to check out the melodically delicious "Radiobeings" with its irresistible chorus, tasty guitar riffs and lead guitar that would make your fingers burn. Just as good is the keyboard laden "Autopilot" that probably has the nicest melody on the CD. "Freefall" combines the crunch of metal with complex drum patterns and bass guitar that absolutely rips, bearing a slight resemblance to bands like ACT. The moody title track combines keyboard ambience with Floyd-like guitar offering a different approach than anything previously heard. I could go on but you get the idea. I will leave the rest for you to discover.

Trusties are a talented band and one that any fan of intelligent music needs to hear. If you like bands such as Saga, ACT and Rush, give Human Wheel a spin and hear what all the fuss is about.

(originally reviewed for www.progressiveears.com)




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