We all get into bands in very different ways and have experienced the “love at first listen” or the bands we gradually learned to love. But actually, very few bands blew my mind right away and ended up among my favorite bands. For me, the best way to discover a new band is getting into them stepwise.
Trials is a Chicago-based independent thrash metal band with death and progressive metal influences and when I first listened to them, there was something about this band that spoke to me immediately, so I had to listen to more of their material. (Looking back, it was probably the fact that they reminded me a little bit of Sylosis.)
Speaking of their style again, I’m bothered about using the term “modern thrash metal” like other reviewers did, because it rather points to influences such as programmed music, sythesizers and an overall increasingly electronic style of metal. Of course, Trials‘ version of thrash isn’t the same as old-school thrash, so it’s understandable why someone would label them as “modern”, but in my opinion, this term is just misleading in this context.
Overall, there’s a couple of reasons to like the US-based band. Firstly, Trials is one of those bands that are able to play riff after riff without repeating themselves. Moreover, they use melodic elements like clean vocals, but stay focused upon their skillful blend of thrash/death metal: This aspect is best shown in their second album In The Shadow Of Swords. Trials place melody only where it’s needed and given the fact that there are a good deal of bands that don’t quite get how to do exactly that, this is quite an achievement.
Their latest effort This Ruined World was released on the 24th of July and it contains nine tight and diverse high-quality songs. The band has developped a distinct style, which, as already mentioned, is very riff-driven. “Truth Defiled” is a great straight-forward opener containing fast, but diverse drumming and riffing – this may be one of the band’s heaviest tracks. Songs like “Blink Of An Eye” have a more old-school feel to them, while “They Hide Behind The Law”, “Disgraced And Erased” and “This Ruined World” overreach the six-minute mark and contain some hinted progressive influences. “Don’t Believe The Word” and “Inheritance” are some of my personal favorites from this album – these are two slightly more melodic tracks with great dynamics – especially “Inheritance” has a great atmosphere to it. I can imagine that “Don’t Believe The Word” is a powerful and groovy live track, as well the next song “Digging My Own Grave” which contains a very nice guitar solo. Even darker songs like “This Ruined World” fit great into Trials‘ style, which, by the way, grooves pretty well, too.
Vocalist Mark Sugar sounds as angry as ever – oh, did I already mention how great that guy sounds? His guttural vocals are exactly as aggressive as they should be in this genre while he’s still able to maintain a quite “melodic” approach to screaming. We sometimes get to hear Sugar’s clean voice, too, which has a great tone and doesn’t transform the band’s sound into sob-stuff like some other fellow’s cleans do. (Ain’t nothing wrong with a little bit of cheesiness, though, but I guess it wouldn’t fit into Trials‘ style. After all, we don’t need a second Killswitch Engage.)
In summary, Trials‘ straight-forward and riff-based, but diverse approach to music is what got me, while This Ruined World gets better and better with every listen. If you’re into bands like Machine Head and Sylosis or are keen on listening to a plain great thrash/death metal album, this is something worth checking out. And take your time – at least for me, this album wasn’t “love at first listen”, but has gradually become an album I really enjoy.
01. Truth Defiled
02. Don’t Believe The Word
03. Digging My Own Grave
04. Disgraced And Erased
05. Blink Of An Eye
06. Beat The System To Death
07. They Hide Behind The Law
09. This Ruined World
Playing time: 47:35
Release date: 24 July, 2015