When I was a teenager and started listening to metal actively, there were two camps of metalheads: the so-called posers and those who were “trve” and “kvlt.” While these terms were appropriated by the black metal subgenre and originally meant as something more positive, ultimately they became gatekeeping terms to prove credibility by using them to refer to only the most obscure or underground bands or recordings. The year 2006 seems like another lifetime and metal couldn’t have become a bigger and more welcoming community than it is now in 2020, but still part of me is wondering what it means to be “trve” or “kvlt” nowadays.
Enter TRVE KVLT CLVB, the trvest and kvltest band of all! While I don’t like to use the word supergroup, there is no other way to describe the group with mastodons of musicians from the Finnish scene. The band just released their debut single, “Empty Alley,” on 31 July 2020 and we’re here to explain to you why this song is most likely already stuck in your head.
“Empty Alley” is an infectious summer track that showcases a unique angle into the subgenre of metal and rock. While the track is mostly keyboard-driven, a couple of elements in the music reveal the slightly more complex backgrounds of each of these musicians. While we know singer Asim Searah‘s voice from KIUAS and DAMNATION PLAN, in TRVE CVLT CLVB he hits a sweet spot between melodic and aggressive vocals, slightly reminiscent of vocalists like Alice Cooper and Peter Tägtgren. It surely is refreshing to see him use different techniques in this band to set apart both acts. The structure of the song, as is often the case with poppy music, is fairly straight forward; however, the song is layered with more intricate parts that fuse and tie up different genres in a knot, making it quite complex to pinpoint a particular genre. For instance, the section with the impressive keyboard solo is leaning slightly more towards progressive metal with its groovy basslines and darker riffs.
Altogether, “Empty Alley” is a breath of fresh air that will make you dance in no time. While fans of black metal may not enjoy this specific song, I can’t help but wonder if there is anything more trve or kvlt than playing music that is close to the heart with meaningful lyrics and a lot of soul? Perhaps that’s what TRVE CVLT CLVB really stands for and I can’t wait for more to come from this band!