Reviewed by Kevin Curtin, Fri., July 19, 2013
Troller's album cover art, likely swiped from an Eighties swinger mag, sports an androgynous woman wearing only a leather vest – with an axe positioned strategically between her legs. That barbaric smuttiness defies the sonic polish positioning Troller as the most stylistically accessible project from local experimental label Holodeck. The group's debut, originally released on cassette and twice re-pressed on vinyl, includes 10 tracks that ride high on heavily processed beats, mellowed vocal wails, distorted bass guitar riffs, and dark analog discharges. Opener "Milk" pounds hard with Adam Jones' echo-maxed kick-and-snare hits, sounding like deep space hip-hop before layers of single-note phaser noises get strategically dumped atop the alien mix. Later, "Winter" demonstrates Troller's potential for beauty with twinkling keyboard pulses and Amber Star Ormand's steamy and soaring, yet lyrically indiscernible vocals. In between, several extended ambient passages splice in, but they don't test your patience as much as provide useful segues that make Troller enjoyable from initial needle drop to closer "Peace Dream," which hints at Sabbath with a doomed bassline rumbling under misty layers of analog noise. Slow, heavy, and dark, but not evil, Troller tranquilizes with unclassifiable mood music.