Label: Southern Lord Records Origin: United States Band: Power Trip
I’m perfectly aware that Power Trip does not need one of my Stranger Aeons reviews to get them some attention, but ever since hearing this band, I had to pen a bit about them. Why? Have you heard ‘Nightmare Logic’? A master piece of crossover thrash that seems to come to us now as a relic of the eighties, right when its needed.
This album is the second full length from this band, which has been around since 2008 and hails from Dallas, Texas. There’s definitely a flavor of hardcore to their sound, hence the notion of crossover, but they are also battle ready and heavy enough to carry a tune at a death metal show. In fact, I have to think of Bolt Thrower now and then, listening to these upstarts play. They do nothing really new, but like Skeletonwitch and maybe Iron Reagan they bring back some simple, primitive thrashing to the forefront in an era when we need these sounds.
This record moves about and groves in all directions. Live the band actually is even more entertaining, with a high energy performance befitting of a bunch of rabid dogs playing thrash metal. The casual vibe of the guitar play, the fun that just displays in the tunes, it makes this band so incredibly catchy and entertaining to hear. At the right moments, they add elements like gang shouts to make it even more awesome. But just listen to that ballzy intro of ‘Soul Sacrifice’, which is a tune for raised fists and feet stomping.
The pace is frantic, the energy high and boundless on a track like ‘Firing Squad’. I really thought that thrash was dead, but this band has awoken the genre from its slumbers. This makes me want to jump around and beat stuff. Not in a violent way though, this music is just so brimming with vitality, with contained and directed fury, that you need to move your feet to it. The rabid screams and shouts of Riley Gale, the riffs like razorblades and the awesome artwork, it all makes sense.
This is one of the coolest records out there, I’m sure.
My offerings of underground musics for you are this time Thränenkind, Kannabinõid, Musk Ox and Vektor.
Some out there stuff, specially the last blew me away and Musk Ox is one of the most haunting things in a while. It’s all good, check it out.
Thränenkind – King Apathy Lifeforce Records
If you make your post black-metal band with a twist of crust, post-hardcore and post-rock (yes, that’s a lot of little genre labels) sound like a bad ass rocking outfit, you’ve got something good going. Wildly accesible, the music of Thraenenkind (not everyone deals with the proper writing that well) from Germany is something special to behold. They debuted in 2013 with their album ‘The Elk’, which also displayed the punk/hc roots of the band with anti-capitalist, environmentalist and more isms as inspiration and lyrical matter. That’s all wrapped up in a package of natural beauty.
There’s two faces to Thränenkind (screw this, I’m using the proper writing). One is a bit like Agalloch, embracing the more post-rock influences black metal sound. You can add some more names like Alcest to that list, but it makes the band sound a bit cliché. The other side is a gritty hardcore/crust vibe, more akin to Amebix and Isis mixed together. There are some bands the sound is very akin to, but you can read Angry Metal Guy for the comparisons everyone already stole (props for writing such a good review). The emotive guitar lines would appear to clash with the energetic drumming, but the dreary feel of the melodies is enlivened by that ferocity. It steels the apathy from King Apathy, making it a potent and stirring record. The sound is filled with sorrow, but also vibrant and struggling with itself. A great record for your stormy spring days.
Kannabinõid – Troon Golem Records
How do you call a stoner from Estonia? An Estoner I suppose, but that’s another band from the northest of the Baltic States. Here we’re talking about Kannabinõid, not their brother band with whom they are on tour. The band has released an EP a few years ago, but now the real work starts with their record ‘Troon’, which means ‘throne’. The style they play, the band describes as stonedoom, So I decided to give these guys from Tallinn a spin and check out the three song record they unleashed.
Drones, that’s what you get, long eerie passages of drones in your face. The tones are full of remorse, more akin to a funeral doom band, specially when the organ comes in. There’s no rush here, but the vocals are more confusing. Hushed voices give a ritualistic feel to the music, which adds to the build-up. Then it swells to roaring with the ever slowly cascading riffs crawling onwards. There’s something psychedelic in the sound of these Tallinn inhabitants though, something about the way the drones reverberate. It’s along, heavy trip, but well worth taking with these gents.
Musk Ox – Woodfall Self Released
Canada has some beautiful nature, and in my head much of it is unspoiled by civilized destruction. It speaks to the heart to know there’s still something akin to wilderness in the world. I feel that this is often what is embodied in neofolk music, letting music paint the land. In this case the one where the Musk Ox roams. The group has released many albums and even though ‘Woodfall’ is from 2014, I really wanted to feature it here.
The music is clean, sculpted and so captivatingly melancholic. Taking the lead is the guitar of Nathanaël Larochette, who plays the tantalizingly sweet little pickings that underline the music ensemble. It’s the cello of Raphael Weinroth-Browne and the violin of Evan Runge that soaringly play and tell the stories. It never becomes repetitive or boring, it keeps finding new shapes and movements that keep you enthralled. Its the sort of record that makes you want to stay at home or take a long walk in the forest on your own, its a solitary experience to revel in the tones of this threepiece. They borrow elements from many music styles, which helps create such layered, complex masterpiece. This album is definitely a great piece of music.
Vektor – Terminal Redux Earache Records
I normally don’t cover records on bigger labels, but come on, this record is insane! Vektor are a progressive thrash band from Pensylvania, that has been around for a a good decade. Originally named Locrian, the band puts the word progressive in one of the most stale music genres around. Ok, I’m not trying to diss thrash, bu the genre is a bit retro. Luckily guys like this are pushing the envelope with their maddening sci-fi themed music, that packs quite a punch if I may say so. Wait, sci-fi themed thrash metal with progressive elements? Yes sir, so they did and its one hell of a ride to listen to this reocrd full of weird and amazing.
Look at the artwork! Just look at it, it’s awesome. Don’t doubt for a moment that this record shreds like a motherfucker. I mean, this is some serious thrash. It’s just that you don’t expect the epic synths, choirs and effect on everything. If you need nine minute sfor that, or 1,5 minute, it’s all good. As long as it completely blows you of your socks. The squeel of David Disanto is unmistakable and ever bordering on the insane. The guitars are slugging solo’s at you, like it ain’t no thang and the pace is relentless. Most astonishing is the lenght of the record, with songs clocking over five minutes only, usually closer to ten, filled to the brim with all sorts of unexpected elements. It’s one hell of a ferocious bit of metal, which is hard to fully comprehend and transfer in words. Frantic riffing, hectic twists and turns but mainly a record that is ready to become a classic.