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Life affirming excellence - 92%

caspian, February 26th, 2008

Now THIS is a crushing record! Being someone who doesn't really have any idea about the early 80's scene, it seems like most 'classics' from that time seem to be a bit weak- certainly not uninspired, but quite hard for me to enjoy- thrash hadn't yet came around and made everything faster and heavier, and early 80's production just doesn't really cut it for me. The end result are a large amount of albums that I can 'appreciate', but that I'd very rarely listen to.

Trouble, however, manage to avoid those pitfalls. Perhaps it's the fact that the guitars are a lot heavier then most other bands I've heard from this age (that anecdote UB mentions with Hetfield certainly seems quite true- certainly Metallica's guitar tone thickened up a great deal after their first album!). It certainly helps that Trouble have a knack for mixing huge, glacier-paced doom riffs with some excellent speed/proto-thrash riffing, both of which complement the other perfectly.

That's probably the first thing I noticed about this album, really. The doom stuff I usually listen too is that which plods along at a glacier like pace and stays there for the remainder of the release, whereas these guys actually mix it up. The huge (relatively) speedy riff in 'Tempter' basically made me cream my pants when I first heard it, and it's followed up by the absolutely massive (MASSIVE) tune that is 'Assassin', possibly the best song ever- mid paced metal at it's finest, one of those songs that commands you to headbang until your neck snaps and you shit your pants. Or something like that, anyway.

And on it goes. Admittedly, it's hard to come up with that many 'sounds like' kind of comparisons (not really having much knowledge of this sort of music), but there's plenty of goodness throughout the album. 'Victims of the Insane' is another excellent tune in a slower, perhaps more sabbathian kind of vein- a lot slower and darker, anyway, will 'Bastards will Pay' is a faster, heavier tune that brings to mind more speed metal kind of associations (maybe, anyway), with an excellent solo and just good times all round.

Ultimately, this is one of those rare old school metal albums that delivers for me. The songwriting is excellent, with the slower and faster riffs mixed into a package that's far more cohesive then it should be. The lyrics are excellent, and while some people will doubtlessly find the singer to be a bit annoying (imagine a much screechier Ozzy), you get used to his sound pretty quickly- he's not that bad a singer, and his vocal lines are really catchy. Overall, it's hard to deny the sheer awesomeness of this album, and anyone who claims to like doom, or speed metal, or even thrash should go out and have a look at this album.