Trephine Trephine

Medically, a trephine is a round saw used to cut bone disks from the skull, and in early times, it was employed in order to release demons from the head. For instrumental math/jazz-metal lovers, however, you’d have to have a hole in your cranium not to appreciate Baltimore’s Trephine. "Goes to Hell, Mr. Wiggles (Part One)” begins with almost ambient Dysrhythmia-like tones before cranking up and razing innocent bystanders. The song goes through several phases, and its predominantly metal stage is reprised next by "Age of Reptiles,” which later lopes along like the long-extinct big lizards. Drummer Don Baumer executes extremely learned poly-rhythms, along with thrifty amounts of Dave Batovsky’s found-object percussion like Skeleton Key. The yawning bass riffs from Will Doane emerge from "Metal Detector” like similar moments from Keelhaul or Craw, then transform into jagged Slayer blast-beats for the final fourth. After a vintage movie clip, "Devil’s Activist” commences its prog-metal destructo-waves before decaying to Eyehategod-ly feedback for the last minute. As exotic as its salamander namesake, "Axoloytl” features layered, repetitive chords until halfway through, abruptly switching to a King Crimson-like jam before reverting to a density notorious to Rush junkies. The exemplary "Adrenochrome” proceeds lazily with chromatic grooves before expanding the Botch/Keelhaul envelope. Album closer "Goes to Hell, Mr. Wiggles (Part Two)” draws in all these elements for a nine-minute romp into a fray from which only Canvas Solaris and Mr. Bungle might escape. More jazzy than Carcass yet less nerdy than Genghis Tron, Trephine have successfully found their niche among both the Dillinger/Red Chord heads and the Yes/Zappa freaks alike. (Public Guilt)