Album Review: Trench

Shrouded in anticipation, Twenty One Pilots’ fifth album Trench was released on Oct. 5, 2018.

The duo, consisting of singer Tyler Joseph and drummer Josh Dun achieved worldwide fame with their 2015 album, Blurryface, which won the Album of the Year award at the 2016 Alternative Press Music Awards.

Coming after a year long hiatus, Trench lives up to, and exceeds all expectations.

The universe of Trench is centered around a fictional place named Dema, and the journey of a group of people called Banditos, who are determined to escape from the rule of the antagonists of Dema, known as Bishops.

The complexity of this universe is further elaborated as the listener progresses through the songs on the album.

“I know every aspect of this world,” Joseph said in an interview with Zane Lowe of Beats 1. “I wanted to go there and write from that place.”

The album has all the characteristics of past Twenty One Pilots music, with rapping and profound lyrics, staying constant in most songs. However, the album also brings an ever changing sound within nearly every track.

“Bandito” brings a slow-paced element which presents a stark contrast from “Levitate” which features rapping for almost all of its duration.

Sound isn’t the only thing that changes throughout the album, but the themes from each song also drastically differ.

Twenty One Pilots often feature heavy topics in their music, something which I believe is crucial to include. Whether a casual listener or a dedicated fan, the listener can usually receive a message through every one of their songs.

A major theme in Trench is fame: founded in 2009, Twenty One Pilots has since risen to substantial fame, perhaps best noted by their achievement of winning a Grammy award in 2016.

In “Jumpsuit”, Joseph expresses the struggles which come with success, and “Chlorine” stresses the many desires and effects that come with being an artist in the music industry.

I found that the album also brushes on darker topics such as the glamorization of mental health problems and suicide. This theme is especially prevalent in “Neon Gravestones” which is reminiscent of a slam poem in performance, furthering the effectiveness and message of the lyrics.

Joseph also wrote “Legend” as a tribute to his grandfather who passed away before the album was released, and wrote “Smithereens” as an ode to his wife. In Blurryface, Joseph also wrote “Tear in My Heart” about his wife.

Overall, Trench delivers a enjoyable and unique listening experience, with the perfect balance between mellow and solemn tracks. Whether you are a fan or a first time listener, this album is definitely worth a listen.

Twenty One Pilots are currently on tour, with AWOLNATION and Max Frost as opening acts.

My personal favorites off the album are “Bandito,” “Pet Cheetah,” “My Blood,” and “Leave the City.”

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