If I had a dollar for every time I’ve read somewhere in the metal blogosphere that Dallas quintet Power Trip are going to save thrash, I’d have a tidy little stack of dollars right now. Setting aside for a minute, though, how silly and hyperbolic statements like that really are, there is a germ of truth there. For the most part, modern thrash (or re-thrash, as it was known for a while) isn’t exactly the most creatively vibrant of genres. A lot of the current crop of bands sound a little too much like 1987, and while that makes for some hella fun live shows, I can probably count on one hand the number of modern thrash bands I will actually sit down and listen to an entire album from (there’s Vektor, and…um…Vektor…).
I do have to admit, however, that I was a bit skeptical about all of the advanced buzz surrounding Power Trip’s sophomore full-length Nightmare Logic. I was of the apparently very few people who was underwhelmed by their 2013 debut Manifest Decimation, and while I did enjoy their side of last year’s split with Integrity, I haven’t returned to it very often (if at all) since it came out. By the time the frenetic verse riff of Nightmare Logic opener “Soul Sacrifice” kicked in, though, I was already thinking that maybe I was wrong about this band, and the swinging, palm-muted Exodus-esque main riff of “Nightmare Logic” made me a full convert. This album is a total fucking ripper from start to finish.
There are a couple of things that really make this album work. The first is the tightness of the songs. Given that the album is all of eight tracks and a relatively brief 33-minutes, it’s kind of remarkable how many killer riffs and nimble leads guitarists Blake Ibanez and Nick Stewart manage to pack into these songs without making them feel overstuffed. There are honestly so many awesome riffs that it’s difficult picking out one or two highlights, but the breakneck intro/verse of “Firing Squad” is a definite standout, and it’s doubly effective in light of how it contrasts with the heavy mosh riff of the bridge. The long outro section of “If Not Us Then Who” is a total neck-wrecker, mixing speedy, staccato palm-muted chugs with a half-time turnaround that might be the coolest part of the whole record.
Vocalist Riley Gale’s lyrics also deserve a special mention. Tapping into the same kind of socio-political commentary that’s always been a hallmark of thrash, these songs are smart, pointed critiques of the powerful and greedy—like the pharmaceutical industry in “Waiting Around to Die,” or religious conservatives in “Crucifixation”—the songs never come off as overly-didactic or preachy.
I really can’t overstate how fucking good this album is – it’s laser-focused, catchier than head lice, and smart enough to leave you with some food for thought. Not only is it likely to be the best thrash album to come out this year, it’s a serious early contender for the best album to come out this year, period. I cannot wait to catch them next month when they hit the road with Iron Reagan.