The Three Tremors’ debut album is the epitome of a too little, too late idea. Many metalheads will see the trifecta of Tim “Ripper” Owens, Harry “The Tyrant” Conklin, and Sean “[Nobody Has Ever Called Me] The Hell Destroyer” Peck as a poor man’s substitute for the pairing of Dickinson, Halford, and Tate that was proposed in the early 2000s. Fans of these particular vocalists will wonder why this collaboration is happening in 2019 when their profiles were higher a decade ago. But even if you take this album on its own terms, it’s an incredibly rough listen.
Seeing how Peck masterminded this project and enlisted his Cage colleagues as the backing band, it’s no surprise that The Three Tremors just sounds like Cage with two more singers. A similarly extreme power metal style is utilized as razor-sharp guitars and blazing drums speed on while a barrage of vocals forcefully delivers metal-cliché lyrics in exclusively high-pitched wails. Such an inherently cheesy construct can move beyond a niche status with genuine substance behind it, but this album seems content to just lather cheese on cheese with no end in sight.
It doesn’t help that these singers just don’t mesh well together. While a careful ear can distinguish their individual characters, their ranges are nearly identical, and their lines are haphazardly arranged. They often opt for the exact same pitches, resulting in harmonies that are just redundant layering and trade-offs that spend more time out-shrieking each other than actually shaping the songs. The original Three Tremors idea was so promising because Halford, Dickinson, and Tate were dynamically different singers that knew how to craft engaging melodies. We don’t need three dudes that all sound the same screaming at each other, even if they’re technically good at it.
“Invaders from the Sky” does a pretty good job of highlighting all the flaws in this album’s songwriting. The way it comes crashing in without a proper prelude makes for a jarring start that only escalates with the sloppy structural transitions and nonexistent hooks. The serviceable instrumentation keeps things from hurtling into disaster but even then, you just end up wondering how subsequent songs like “King of the Monsters” will ruin their promising introductions.
Amusingly enough, the album’s best moments come when the band decides to calm the fuck down. While the Viking aesthetic on “Wrath of Asgard” guarantees the same cheese as everything else, its mid-tempo pacing makes for a more palatable meal. “Sonic Suicide” also makes for some decent restraint and I can get into “When the Last Scream Fades” thanks to its grungy bookends. They still make for frankly exhausting listens, but the album would’ve been a more fun experience with more tracks like them.
Overall, The Three Tremors’ debut takes an already risky idea and pushes it into even more ridiculous extremes. It would’ve been a decent albeit unspectacular power metal effort with only one singer but adding two more muddies the arrangements and makes the cheese overwhelming to all but the most lactose friendly. It’s not an all-out failure but I’m not sure if the power metal equivalent of The Room or Troll 2 was quite what they were going for. Fucking Gloryhammer isn’t this cheesy.
“When the Last Scream Fades”
“Wrath of Asgard”
Addendum: They don’t have to take the advice of a nobody like me, but a change of personnel would really go a long way if they decide to keep this project going. Get somebody like Arjen Lucassen or Magnus Karlsson to handle the songwriting and replace Conklin with a deeper voiced singer to highlight the range contrasts. The Tyrant is overdue for a new Satan’s Host album anyway.