Release Date: Feb 24, 2017
Record label: Southern Lord Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal
While Greg Anderson may be best known for his tireless exploration of bowel-rupturing sub frequencies in drone behemoths Sunn 0))), his Southern Lord label has long been responsible for a release schedule of wildly untethered heaviness, putting out crust punk, purist doom and all in between. They are also not averse to signing up proper old school thrash and here Dallas' Power Trip - who marry high velocity thrash metal with rawkus hardcore chops - deliver an album frothing with vehemence and gnash. Building on their 2013 debut LP Manifest Decimation and shearing any scrap of fat from their - already lean - sound, Nightmare Logic opens with Soul Sacrifice, all crunchy riffs and pounding speed.
Power Trip have returned, fiercer and unrulier than ever before, with their latest full-length, Nightmare Logic, outdoing their already-raucous LP Manifest Decimation and taking all elements of their sound to new heights. Not only have Power Trip raised the technical bar here, the riffs and hooks have become more memorable and the hardcore swing they've incorporated on previous releases has become a more integral part of their sound, adding more variety to their unique brand of crossover. Opener "Soul Sacrifice" serves as a forecast of what is to come on the rest of the record, diving in and out of speedy thrash riffs and squealing leads, sandwiched between a recurring, chunky riff that serves as both an introduction to the song and a final breakdown.
Religion was the main lyrical focus of Decimation, and the crossover thrashers' follow up, Nightmare Logic, finds Gale continuing his contemptuous views on it and its leaders. Of course, a metal band disparaging religion is nothing new; paradoxically enough, it's preaching to the choir. That said, Gale's seething hatred for organised religion makes his blunt-force lyricism stand out: Album closer "Crucifixation," for example, contains gems like, "I don't care what you think you know / Go and leave it on your tombstone." Yet, sharp, scornful lyricism towards such a hackneyed topic wouldn't mean much if the music didn't match its intensity.
No one throws a party like Power Trip. In the years since their 2008 inception, the Dallas crossover quintet has come to embody the platonic ideal of heavy metal escapism, in person and on record. Genre boundaries get blown to smithereens during their rambunctious, pretension-free concerts; they'll play with anyone who's willing to get noisy, be it New Orleans bounce queen Big Freedia, moody post-punk outfit Merchandise, or black metal darlings Deafheaven.
Power Trip has been kicking hindquarters for nearly a decade now and Nightmare Logic's arrival changes none of that. The Texas quintet's considerable powers are on full display here: the might, intellect and imagination central to classic metal from the '80s underground joins seamlessly with contemporary sensibilities, creating an impenetrable wall of awesomeness. Walloping guitar riffs are the bedrock of metal but what sets any metallic outfit apart from the herd is its talent for creating hooks.
The fact that young bands are still exploring the multifarious delights of thrash fucking metal, three decades on from the genre's hazy inception, speaks volumes about the enduring appeal of speed, aggression and not giving a shit. Power Trip eschew the knucklehead party-thrash vibes of many retrogressive thrash mobs in favour of raw, demonic and blistering underground thrash that owes a huge debt to the early works of Slayer and Kreator, while still managing to sound like a 21st-century concern. A few nods to the early Swedish death metal scene are discernible within the breakneck nastiness of opener Soul Sacrifice and first single Firing Squad, but Power Trip are gleefully smashing boxes before anyone can start ticking them.
"Into the mouth of madness" The first howl on the new Power Trip full-length was written prophetically as the 2016 primaries battled in and around the band's homestate of Texas. Raised on a punk rock diet, in a college-town where positive hardcore bands played alongside power-violence acts without batting an eye, the outcome of the election was just a dystopian madness that they never imagined. As the album, now mixed, mastered and packaged with artwork from the ever-disturbing Paulo Girardi, filters onto the streets, that nightmare is real.
2016 was a tremendous year for classic thrash and crossover. 30 year old bands like Anthrax, Death Angel, Discharge, DRI, Megadeth, Metallica, Suicidal Tendencies and Testament all put out killer new material. 2017 is shaping up to be a banner year for more modern thrash and crossover. First we got ripping new albums from Hellmouth and Iron Reagan.