Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2017
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Half-time heeders of the early call - 81%

Gutterscream, July 17th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1979, 12" vinyl, CBS

“…quelle sensation la destruction…”

One could say that Trust is to French metal as Loudness is to Japanese metal without having to deflect too many sideways glances. That’s probably ‘cos there are few truer things than each being their country’s most popular metal act during a nearly simultaneous time frame, and that their names were likely the first of the style the indigenous tribes of America would remember being stitched across an invading boat sail. Yeah, Japan had Bow Wow albums as early as ’76 and all, but time’s confirmed the limited reach of their influence and staying power, meanwhile changing names to Vow Wow in the mid-‘80s confused more than it cured. In fact, over time Loudness has leapt headlong into larger, leafier piles of recognition than either their domestic rival or European counterpart, possibly even combined. These comparisons are kinda moot though, I guess, considering Trust and Loudness sound nuthin’ alike.

Trust’s self-titled debut was for some reason retitled L’Elite on copies repressed even before its release year was out, and it’s a year that doesn’t have an ‘8’ in it anywhere. Yep, stuck we are once again angling suspiciously around another late ‘70s release that could stylistically be refused a chair in early metal’s executive boardroom and is understandably assigned similar reverence/apprehension that TKO’s Let It Roll, Fist’s Round One, Survivor’s All Your Pretty Moves, countrymates Silvertrain’s Which Platform Please? and actually not too many others have received.

One’s mood, elasticity of taste and a gander at a sleeve that doesn’t have much to say can slay this album as easily as support it. Due to its date of birth and sometimes even prior to being heard, doubts about its metalness tend to drown out its support no matter who’s declaring good news about it, and after a spin or two under his belt, it’s likely the doubter would find it effortless to uphold his original prediction, for like half of Trust is either of a normal rockin’ nature or simply has nothing to do with metal.

In contrast, and here’s where it gets tricky, its optimistic supporter could feel similarly about Trust, only she can’t get over how acceptably metal half of the album is. Each will likely drive the other nuts when they find out. So how can opinions about an album split so far apart?

When these guys are playing hard, fast and aggressive, it’s difficult to hear 1979 ‘cos you’ll usually find it far in the distance and face down in the dust. When they’re not, it’s hard to discern whose record is actually playing. Their diversity often crosses borders into other styles, which may cause purists of those styles to chalk it up to a band with a splintered personality. Not here. Trust that Trust are well aware of themselves musically as well as tactically, and reinforcing the sentiment of tactics is song placement that has very little haphazard scent about it.

Now, actual time travel is as far as we can prove impossible, though it’s not impossible to disguise or manipulate something so it seems possible, which is why I purposely breezed over an allusion to an outlook beyond 1979. It’s my fascination with how Trust, a French band in ’79, seemingly not only developed their own personal ground floor sound, style and energy which would coincide with one that may have not even been known yet as The New Wave of Heavy Metal (let alone its anagram) originating a sip of water away, but also the ease in which it’s used to jumpstart at least half of the material here. I mean, at the time this extremely brand new movement (and probably wasn’t even considered that yet) wasn’t doing much more than spit up in a very small handful of UK bands’ cribs.

So what does ’79 look like crumpled in a heap in Trust’s rearview mirror? Well, smart opener “Prefabriques” shines like Riot racing in its early ‘80s chrome of Fire Down Under or Restless Breed – a good move, ‘cos kicking this lp off with any hook other than a shagheaded heat-seeker would’ve been a mistake. “L’Elite” awakens side two with a bunch of joyfully invasive Norbert Krief solos crying an unexpectedly throwback Hendrix-esque pitch that unfortunately isn’t found anywhere else on the disc. More solos evolve “Police-Milice”, now dual and more serpentine over suavely sizzling and heavy ’79-’81 Thin Lizzy presence.

Splashes of fluid metal slick up hanging punk arrangements in “Bosser Huit Heures”, laced as well with verbal anarchy due mainly to Bonvoisin’s harsh spittle of his native tongue, however the lyrics share punk’s bravery, something he and the band eventually become known for. More eclectic are styles used to source out levels of interest in “Come Une Damne”, some of which are straightforward like Max Webster or mid-level Gamma, yet some are intermittently playful like when Queen do something odd and with a smidge of art without concerns of how popular it’s gonna be.

The most aggressive, which incidentally sounds fairly current with the times, ends side one, but strangely stumbles to its start with an almost hesitant ‘rise’ of double bass quickly followed by an equally unsure integration of the main beat, as if it’s the first time Jeannot Hanela pulled his stool up to this song, but “Dialogue de Sourds” rapidly gains its footing to deal with an urgency that’s not unlike Nugent (think “Motor City Madman”), Motorhead (hear “Overkill”) and, without twin bass, even a pair of Canadian dragsters peeling out on Warpig’s way back ’70 debut.

The doubter pushes through and proudly places the stylus on second song “Palace”, a collision of funk-shucked, downplayed disco and mini-Mooged, electric piano lounge rock (we’re not at the collision site yet) and (now we are) rock with descriptions ranging from ‘drably medium-slow’ to ‘loud and partially untamed’ taking turns backing into one another. Now while this muted, unplugged-sounding homage to the likes of B.T. Express, T-Connection and Mandrill may seem silly to somber rock fans wanting to hear only the parts infused with New York Dolls nastiness and The Stooges, they could miss its actual use, which I believe is to alleviate perceived seriousness that spits out from their lyrical focus, a goof-around portion of the show that I don’t think shows up early on side one by accident.

Undeterred, our smug doubter lets the needle invade “Le Matteur”, another peculiar potpourri with a heady, proclamatory chorus rocking between slowly-plucked, finger-snapping blues that lights a cigarette when the saxophone kicks in like a French version of future Aussie group Heaven.

AC/DC’s “Ride On” cover kills nearly seven minutes with its crawling blues drawl and after three of ‘em I’m hoping to get run over myself. One of the few pre-’84 AC/DC tunes I severely dislike leads the way like a glacier for the lp’s unmetallic finale “Toujours Pas une Tune”, which centerpieces pseudo-southern, wantonly old-timey Bob Seger-ish ”Old Time Rock n’ Roll" and Meat Loaf-y ”All Revved Up With No Place to Go” r&r that’s splashed appropriately with ragtime piano. Somebody wake up the doubter, please.

While Trust doesn’t end on too hot a note, there’s staunch stuff here sweatier than strong hard rock perspiration. And equally right, there’s stuff here that isn’t. I don’t think it’s too hard to hear an understanding of where the times’ hardest of rock was headed even if some of their non-rock or lightest of rock influences enjoy some groove space. With that in mind, if Trust had little or no such perception, they’d have just as much luck deciphering early, cave-drawn hieroglyphics of ‘80s metal that eluded a lot of rock acts. This four piece, however, were able to translate ‘em using hard rock’s ‘70’s vernacular, which I find to be a pretty nifty achievement.

Fun fact 7sk0\d: big fans of AC/DC, especially vocalist Bernard Bonvoisin, who, after meeting Bon Scott in late ’78, became personal friends and secured tour support for their Highway to Hell tour. Sadly, Trust’s January 1980 support dates would be some of the very last performed by/with Bon Scott.

"...problème Vietnamien des gens tués pour rien…”