Trials
This Ruined World

 

The problem with the modern thrash scene is too many bands are relying on the nostalgia of the genre’s ‘80s heyday instead of forging their own path forward. Naturally there are exceptions, but most decent modern thrash bands tend to hybridize with other styles to create something unique and noteworthy. I might sound a touch cynical over the current state of the thrash scene but unfortunately the lack of standout bands in recent years has me losing a bit of faith in the future of this beloved genre. However, following on from their accomplished sophomore album In the Shadow of Swords in 2013, Chicago’s Trials are here to buck the trend with their smoking third album, entitled This Ruined World.

These sprightly young guns, flying the independent flag and sporting a dedicated DIY attitude, continue moving from strength to strength. This Ruined World finds Trials taking their music and song-writing to the next level and the end result is the tightest and best written collection of tunes the band has penned in their still young career. They succeed through a deft combination of slick and inventive song-writing and a healthy blend of technicality, melody and groove, using classic thrash influences as merely reference points and a springboard towards their own vicious yet accessible modern thrash formula. Trials raid the riff vaults of classic Metallica, Testament and Morbid Angel, but for inspiration only, manipulating these influences into a sound they can proudly call their own. Throw-in a keen sense of dynamics and fluid, interesting song structures and you have a recipe for some killer thrash complete with a healthy dose of swaggering Pantera-esque groove and death metal aggression for good measure.

Right off the bat Trials bring the thunder with the dense, aggro thrash and bending guitar work of raging opener “Truth Defiled”. It signals the beginning of an album’s worth of top shelf riffs, tight musicianship, thrashy energy and enough twisty turns and catchy hooks to keep the listener on their toes and ready to hit the replay button when the carnage ceases. Not that This Ruined World is a particularly extreme or unfailingly brutal offering, but it’s a prime example of knife edge balance and quality songcraft that’s old school in spirit but unmistakably modern. The song-writing is sharp and memorable, with the band displaying a carefree approach and frequently veering outside the cushy confines of the thrash genre. And the death metal presence lends some welcome weight and grit to the album, evidenced on songs like the dissonant rumble of the closing title track.

Elsewhere, the riffy technical crunch of “Disgraced and Erase” and intense surge of the killer “Blink of an Eye”, featuring a beautiful melodic break, are just a couple of fine examples of Trials masterful handle of dynamics and stellar mix of feisty aggression and slithery melody. Amidst an album of energetic corkers sit a few personal highlights, but one of This Ruined World’s strengths is the sustained quality of the song-writing from start to finish. Performances are excellent across the board, from the busy and aggressive drumming and thick audible bass, to the dexterous dual guitar work and versatile vocals. Frontman/guitarist Mark Sugar switches between harsher mid-ranged growls and screams to a rough-hewn cleaner melodic style, deftly changing-up his delivery and vocal patterns in creative and unpredictable ways.

Another strong but potentially divisive aspect to This Ruined World is the production.  Refreshingly free from the clinical restraints of typical modern metal productions, This Ruined World is armed with a raw and organic sound featuring clean yet biting tones. It might not suit all tastes, but it’s a nice change from the standard norm.

Trials delivers on their promise in a big fucking way here, equipped with a fresh and catchy thrash sound that demands repeat listens and deserves wider attention. This Ruined World is a killer album through and through and if the metal world is just, it should catapult Trials onto bigger and better things.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Luke Saunders
October 12th, 2015

Comments

  1. Commented by: Zach

    Great album!


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