TREPANATION, Hideous Black Abyss (2013, demo)

The skull:
What we’d really like to see is one of these bands that glorifies trepanation actually be practicing, uh, treppaners, performing live with their holes showing. They could stick stuff in their holes every now and then — a mic stand, a guitar headstock, a drum stick, that sort of thing. If a few bands arise around the same time taking it to the next level like this, perhaps we’ll see a Trepanation Nation tour package. Sky’s the limit! But until then, a bunch of skulls will have to do the dirty work for these bands, and this has resulted in a small, elite subset of the Big Dumb Skull. This guy did his trepanning in a most unorthodox way, taking the route of going up underneath his head and busting out on top. Curiouser yet is the five-pronged stick with which he did this. Come to think of it, the way the eye sockets convey a weary, wild, unwilling, overly-tired look, you wonder if this guy was trepanned against his will. Shit, this ain’t nothin’ but an impaling! Lame. We want our money back.

The music:
The members of this New Zealand trio dress themselves in a manner that recalls Revenge-meets-Sarcofago. Their music never quite gets there though. It’s definitely fucked up and extreme and noisy and all that, but the lack of imagination, or the lack of unhinged, screw-loose realness, never gets off the ground to take flight. As nasty as it’s trying to be, and with all the accouterments one would need to follow in the wake of Revenge and Sarcofago and the like, Trepanation really never convinces on any meaningful level. They sound very much like students that will never rise to the level of the masters. I checked out a live video of the band after listening to this demo, and their shtick comes off better in that realm. It’s still a few significant rungs lower than their masters, and doesn’t captivate quite like it should, but their live performance is very good, so I think the demo turned out way, way too clean for the “hideous black abyss” they were promising. Maybe they’ll get it right next time.
— Friar Wagner

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