Review: Trillionaire, Romulus (Nefarious Industries, 2021)

A former bandmate of one of the members of Trillionaire tipped me off about the group a few months ago, and I'm damn glad they did, because this is an excellent yet peculiar release that I probably would've overlooked otherwise. For one thing, I'm pretty out of touch with contemporary metal, especially when it's at the level of being covered by sites as wide-reaching as Metal Sucks and the like. There's just something in my stubborn old man DNA that makes me predisposed to bypassing a certain stratum of music in favor of lesser-known fare unless a band name or album cover happens to catch my attention in some way. And—if I'm being honest—Trillionaire doesn't check those boxes for me. Don't get me wrong, Romulus' presentation is super slick and looks great—not to mention the fact that Trillionaire clearly has some pretty major artistic concepts and intentions in play. I'm just saying that superficially, for better or worse, had someone not messaged me, "Hey, check this out," nothing about the standard promo email would've piqued my interest here.

As it may be more meaningful to readers less gopher-like than I, a few of Trillionaire's members have at various points been involved with other notable acts such as Inter Arma, Ken Mode, Revocation, and others. But, again, to illustrate just how out of touch I am: sure, I've heard all of those bands... but barely. I don't know why. Perhaps because of that fact, I can't compare Trillionaire to anyone. Bits and pieces do bring a variety of other groups to mind, but I'm not gonna go there. I'll just state that, in general, the sound of this album is how I would define modern progressive metal. Dare I say... alternative progressive metal? I mean, it's certainly not progressive metal à la Dream Theater, you know? Exceptional musicianship is on display, however—as are truly unique vocals that play a significant role in shaping the band's own identity. Most important, though, are the sheer strengths of the songwriting—much more memorable and at times even catchy than fare typically described as "progressive." Oh, shit, and they also have three guitar players!?

All of this senseless and not-very-review-like babble to say: this is very good. Interesting and impactful. Given the fact that I almost missed out on it, I feel obligated to do my part in spreading the word, with the hope that others might avoid the same mistake. So, yeah: give it a listen!

Nefarious Industries has pressed this sucker up on 300 LPs and 100 pro CD-Rs—both in gatefolds—the LP with a printed inner sleeve, the CD with an eight-page booklet (full-color all around). Grab the disc, LP, or digital through either the label or Bandcamp. Stream it on Spotify, if you're one of those optimistic people who trusts that intangible music is never going to mysteriously vanish without a trace.

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