Review: Twenty One Pilots create fictional city with ‘Trench’


The EP “Strange Love” by Simple Creatures was released on March 29, 2019
Graphic by Sarah Hearn


After over a year of being on hiatus, Twenty One Pilots is back with “Trench,” which dropped earlier this month on Fueled By Ramen records.

It’s not clear when exactly the Columbus-natives began working on the album, but when the hiatus began in July of 2017, it would be months before they were heard from again.

Beginning in April of this year, a GIF concerning the fictional city of Dema was discovered on the band’s website, and they officially made their return to social media in July.

“Trench,” is a concept album that focuses primarily on Dema, the city that was made up by the band. Dema represents depression, and the bishops that rule the city do not allow people to leave, which is meant to show how people can struggle with getting help for and recovering from depression.

“Nico and the Niners,” is a song that talks about the bishops as a whole. Nico is the name of one of them, and there is nine total, hence the name, “Nico and the Niners.” 

Nico, the head bishop, was revealed by lead singer Tyler Joseph to be “Blurryface,” which is the name of the band’s 2015 album, and also one of Joseph’s demons that he himself struggles with.

“Jumpsuit,” is a song that talks about the escape from Dema itself. In the music video, the people who are attempting to escape wear yellow, which the bishops cannot see.

Although the album is based around a fictional city, there are other themes hidden within Joseph’s partially rapped lyrics.

Cleansing your mind of dark thoughts, the glorification of suicide, staying loyal to a friend, love and life and death are all explored on the album – nothing is off limits.

Although the band is hard to classify as one specific genre, Twenty One Pilots are not ones to sugar coat anything. “Trench,” and past albums “Blurryface” and “Vessel” all have one overarching theme – mental illness. All of these albums are raw, they don’t hold back. The true deep, dark lyrics are hidden behind upbeat, happy instrumental tracks. 

“Trench” is available everywhere now, and Twenty One Pilots will be coming to St. Louis on Oct. 19 at the Enterprise Center. Tickets are sold out, but resale tickets can be found on StubHub.