I Am the Trireme – Not Following the Light

Saturday, 15th August 2015

Much like the recently featured Fin’Amor, Philadephia’s I Am the Trireme have taken some time to truly get off the ground. Firing off a string of EPs since their 2008 inception, IATT finally released their first full-length album earlier this summer, entitled Gnosis: Never Follow the Light. But with that time comes maturity, and a sense of what you’d like to see the band accomplish before moving too far into an established sound.

Gnosis does exactly that – the band continuing to veer away from more metalcore-esque beginnings and embrace a more melodic black/death approach. But they never get muddled down by genre tags, and this approach will serve the band well as they move forward in the years to come. Drummer Paul Cole was kind enough to divulge some details to DR about the band’s past, their deal with HPGD, and even how they came up with a distinctly unique pre-order perk.

Dead Rhetoric: How’d you come up with the name I Am the Trireme?

Paul Cole: The trireme was an ancient Greek warship during the 7th to 4th centuries BCE that was prized for its speed and power. The ship was crew by three tiers of rowers who propelled the vessel as a giant battering ram, which would split opposing ships in two. Just as the ship of ancient Greece, IATT works as a single entity, with each member pulling their weight to forge a fast paced, powerful sonic assault.

Dead Rhetoric: The band has been in existence for seven years now, could you give us a brief overview of IATT’s beginnings?

Cole: IATT began in 2008 through the efforts of Jay Briscoe (vocals). What started as a small prospected Craigslist post looking for musicians grew into a vehement drive and blood oath between Briscoe and current guitarist Alec Pezzano. Since then, IATT have pressed on; acquiring new members and rotating rosters, developing our sound, and growing as professionals and perfectionists in our craft.

Dead Rhetoric: Who do you feel are some of the band’s biggest influences?

Cole: Sonically, IATT has taken influence from a wide range of music and non-musical influences. In the Extreme Metal space, one could draw parallels to Dissection, Shining, or Emperor in some respects. IATT is multi-faceted, and incorporates elements of Melodic Death Metal, Black Metal, Doom, DSBM, and Classical music into the sound we’ve developed.

Dead Rhetoric: When/how did the deal with Horror Pain Gore Death Productions come about?

Cole: Mike (Mike Juliano – Owner of HPGD) approached IATT a few years ago while we were performing at Hostile City Deathfest. It took a few years for things to fall into place, but IATT is proud to be a part of the HPGD roster. We are very happy with their team’s involvement in this release thus far and expect great things.

Dead Rhetoric: IATT initially started out with more of a metalcore feeling. Why did the stylistic shift occur?

Cole: Things change and bands take time to develop their sound and identity. We were seven years younger and – though sonically proficient – immature in the sense of taste and knowledge of how to articulate what we wanted. The message was always the same, the music however was a growing process; with each release marching us closer to discovering our own voice.

Dead Rhetoric: As evolution goes, do you see the band continuing to progress further into black/death as the years move forward?

Cole: It’s hard to say. Sonically I don’t think IATT will ever shift into purely Black Metal or Death Metal. Part of what we’ve learned over the years is labeling or pigeon holing one’s self can be detrimental to the creative process. IATT will continue to develop OUR sound, be it an amalgam of several genre’s or a different fusion. Rest assured IATT is fixated on creating meaningful music in the Extreme Metal space.

Dead Rhetoric: Could you explain the idea of enlightenment as it pertains to Gnosis?

Cole: Gnosis is really an album about rebirth and ascension. What is “dark” isn’t always what one might seem to think, and throughout the album the themes of enlightenment, growth, rejection, and ultimately ascension resonate as a means to explain the world as we see it. We leave a bit up to the listener to interpret what the journey of enlightenment means to them, but ultimately the conclusion of the album leads to a new chapter of life/death.

Dead Rhetoric: There is a triangle with an inverted cross and crescent moon between the letters in your logo. Is there any significance to this?

Cole: The Inverted Mooncross has become IATT’s official sigil over the past few years. For us, it is a symbol of power and defiance towards puritanical religious and political shit that is a part of the mainstream culture, and a symbol of knowledge: truth in darkness. The moon is the source of light in the “dark”, revealing the reality of our world.

Dead Rhetoric: Where did the idea of doing a bundle with an actual animal jaw bone pendant stem from?

Cole: Several members of IATT are very much into the study and collecting of osteology and taxidermy. As fans of such topics, it became an interesting idea to open this world to our fan base and make a unique addition to the preordered albums incentive. Visually it goes along with the album as well.

I feel obliged to note that IATT has acquired all bones and animal remains ethically and responsibly.

Dead Rhetoric: You recorded a video for the song “Thy Sombering Light.” Why choose that song, and what was the video-making process like?

Cole: We had a very strong vision for this song; I think a lot of that had to do with the lyrics and powerful rhythmic quality of the track. The video was directed, shot, and edited by IATT’s Alec Pezzano with additional footage from Chris Dambly (Dambles Productions) and starring Mariel Letourneau. The inspiration for the video was very much taken from the 1930’s German Expressionist movement in style, especially ‘Un Chien Andalou’ (Salvador Dali).

Dead Rhetoric: There are a number of bands that stem from the Philadelphia area, what’s your take on the scene there?

Cole: The metal scene in Philly has been progressively growing over the past few years. Things are definitely different from the early 2000’s as far as big tours and show attendance, but several solid bands have been popping up locally making headway. Philadelphia itself has a lot of metal going on; Decibel Magazine and Relapse Records call Philly home as well as Season of Mist, so metal is here, you just need to know where to look.

Dead Rhetoric: What’s coming up in the near future for I Am the Trireme?

Cole: IATT will heavily promote Gnosis, work on setting up our touring schedule for the coming months, release new merchandise, and continue on our course – head first at full speed.

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