Band: Power Trip
Album: Nightmare Logic (2017)
Genre: thrash metal
Where to buy: Bandcamp
In the metal world, the current preponderance of death and black metal releases can seem to eclipse other subgenres and types of metal. This is why albums like Nightmare Logic are so welcome. They’re an important reminder that all metal genres are still alive and kicking. Power Trip serves up a raw, full sound on Nightmare Logic, with riffs blazing and drums crushing. The album even has a classic feel, with notes that call forth the genre’s forebears and guitar distortion that bridges the gap between 80s-era tube amplification and contemporary processed sounds. The song structures allow for rhythmic and sometimes ambient exploration without either falling to wankery or losing sight of the riff-based core of this kind of thrash. Only the closer breaches the five minute mark, and in just over a half-hour, the eight songs storm and pound in a delicious, frantic tempest.
The distant rumble of explosions thrum quietly as the album begins, cut off by the first of many excellent riffs, overtopped by a siren-like solo guitar, and finally a primal scream. This first riff and tonal layering is deceptive, because it lulls you into a more sedate and restrained headbanging than what comes next. Just as you settle into what is essentially a sped-up doom riff, the tempo changes radically, more than doubling in bpm. The riff shifts, too, moving back and forth between a galloping low rumble and huge, heavy chords. This is an illustrative microcosm of the album as a whole. Every song here builds on at least one if not more great headbang-inducing riffs that are perfectly constructed to support the gritty vocals and searing solos. Some of these riffs are clearly inspired by thrash’s first big successes – listen for the similarity between the two-stroke chords at the beginning of “Ruination” and the similar chords at the start of Metallica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. The solo on “Firing Squad” starts with an artificial harmonic and intervallic jump that mirror Hammett’s on “Shortest Straw.” These are only minor parallels, more invoking a sense than paying true homage or even taking inspiration directly, but Nightmare Logic definitely provides a reminder that it exists in relation to what’s come before, and it does so without feeling cheap or counterfeit.
There are vocal similarities, too. There’s a mid-song breakdown in “Firing Squad” that includes vocalist Riley Gale punctuating the bridge with an “Alright!” that sounds a lot like Hetfield’s first line on “Seek and Destroy.” The album intro and outro play with a fading eruption or detonation sound effect that is reminiscent of Megadeth’s usage of similar sounds, such as the passing warplanes that kick off The System Has Failed. “Waiting Around To Die” ends with an eerie vocal sample, also a favorite trick of Megadeth. Lyrically, the themes are right in line with these and similar thrash bands. Favored album targets include the unthinking faithful in “Executioner’s Tax,” the unmoved and unrepresented masses in “Waiting Around To Die,” and the underhanded and explicitly evil uber wealthy in “If Not Us Then Who.” The sense of righteous anger that is at the core of thrash is here focused on generalized forms rather than specific entities, but the music is so good it works irrespective of further definition. In that sense, this is truly modern thrash, indebted to the genre’s giants and infused with their glorious energy.