By Eli Shively, General Manager
[Southern Lord; 2017]
Key Tracks: “Soul Sacrifice”, “If Not Us Then Who”
It only takes a few minutes of familiarity with Power Trip’s second LP Nightmare Logic to recognize that the Dallas, Texas metalcore quintet has spent countless hours perfecting their craft. Formed in 2008, they’ve released two records in nine years — a feat that may leave certain heavy music fans, used to one or two-year long album cycles, scratching their heads. The sheer musicality, pacing and overall artistic vision of the work, though, speaks for itself. Power Trip doesn’t just want to get down or get angry, they want to do so with as much respect for their craft and close attention to detail as possible. Nightmare Logic is proof of that.
The term “metalcore” earns more than its fair share of scoffs in certain circles; In fact, Power Trip themselves likely wouldn’t be too fond of being referred to as such. However, in lieu of Every Time I Die’s radio-friendly sheen or The Devil Wear’s Prada’s over-the-top middle school goofiness, Power Trip offers a more basic approach to the term through their music, combining the best elements of thrash, metal and hardcore into a melting pot of destructive goodness.
For those wondering what that wide-ranging cocktail of genres might sound like, Nightmare Logic’s opener, “Soul Sacrifice”, offers a pretty solid introduction to the formula — ominous, swirling power electronics give way to a punishing riff reminiscent of 90’s “new school” hardcore, which later breaks mid-song in favor of a classic double-time thrash groove. The latter half of the track is topped with wailing, unhinged lead guitar, and vocalist Riley Gale’s trademark rasp, adding color and personality to a very strong instrumental base.
Gale is at his livid, confrontational best the whole record through. From intense barks of “You’re waiting around to die / And I can’t fucking stand it” to gang vocal-backed cries of “If not us, then who?”, he cements himself as one of the most charismatic and invigorating frontmen around today, shifting the force and energy of the instrumental behind whatever unjust or iniquitous force he’s rallying his audience against. Power Trip’s fantastic rhythm section deserves a shout out here as well, as their impeccable tightness and boundless stamina keeps the entire band light and on their feet throughout all 32 minutes.
Does Nightmare Logic accomplish anything entirely new or groundbreaking? Not really, but that’s not what Power Trip are going for — what it does manage to deliver is an immensely entertaining half hour of dizzyingly well-executed metal and hardcore, created by an extremely talented band at the top of their game. In fact, this may be the most fun you have with a heavy record this year. So roll the windows down, crank the volume up and enjoy the ride.