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The last Amanda Somerville related musical venture I encountered was Exit to Eden - four vocalists; a seriously average backing band; and a series of unadventurous, uninventive and uninspired metalled-up covers of classic songs from different genres. They even had the cheek to release, effectively, the same video several times over, so the visuals were as uninventive as the music. It led me, in my review, to declare: "As pointless as an amp that goes up to eleven, and as bland as a cheese and pickle sandwich where someone has removed the pickle...and the cheese, 'Rhapsodies in Black' has all the charisma and oomph of a wet lettuce." It was a shame, because there was some serious talent at work, with at least two of the vocalists involved - namely Somerville herself and the usually reliable Clémentine Delauney.

So, moving on from Exit Eden (and I seriously hope there isn’t a second album), here we have Somerville back doing what she does best, fronting her own outfit, Trillium. And, fortunately, someone's remembered the pickle here...and more tasty ingredients... as this one's filled to the brim with classy metal goodness. With husband and ex-After Forever axeman, Sander Gommans, in the Trillium fold, along with some other fine players, the metal/musicianship quota’s in safe hands. Together with Somerville’s powerful, soaring voice, it all bounces along with a compelling enough impetus.

However, and here’s my key criticism of 'Tectonic', it kind of plays it a little too safe for the majority of the playing time. Clichés and compositional paradigms are abound. Even all the track lengths are between four and five minutes! That said, they utilise those clichés, and flesh out the tried and tested structures with aplomb, so the album still packs a punch, in spite of its largely derivative nature. And matters get even more interesting when the band veer off the paradigmatic metal path with a degree of innovation, as with tracks like 'Nocturna' and ‘Cliché Freak Show'. The latter two are indubitable album highlights.

All in all, I like 'Tectonic'; there's some good stuff here. However, it's not a mind-blowing listening experience with any sense of the "wow" factor. Despite its namesake, the earth didn't move for me. Nonetheless, though, Somerville & co. have delivered a solid and interesting enough metal record that's well worth checking out.
Frontiers Music
Review by Mark Holmes
8th June 2018
1) Time to Shine
2) Stand Up
3) Full Speed Ahead
4) Hit Me
5) Fighting Fate
6) Nocturna
7) Fatal Mistake
8) Shards
9) Cliché Freak Show
10) Eternal Spring
"...someone's remembered the pickle here...and more tasty ingredients...as this one's filled to the brim with classy metal goodness."