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Wednesday 17 June 2020

Reviews: Power Trip, Haunt, Viatorem, Stinky (Liam & Matt)

Power Trip: Live in Seattle (Dark Operative) [Liam True]

There’s no doubt that Power Trip have dominated the underground Thrash Metal scene since Nightmare Logic dropped back in 2017 and have been on some of Metals most notable tours since. Playing with the likes of Trivium, High On Fire, Cannibal Corpse and plenty more acts to give them a taste of the big tours. Their new live album, recorded back in 2018 when they were at the top of their release tour with NL, shows the band at their best. With the setlist packed full of their most notable hits (Executioners Tax, Manifest Decimation & Crucifixation to name a few) mixed in with songs they’ve barely played live (Conditioned To Death & Drown being the main ones) it’s a perfect live album for the band to flourish in and stands even better two years down the line.

The band themselves are on fire and are as tight as any Crossover Thrash band right now. With Riley Gale’s powerful Hardcore Punk voice surging through you like 1000 volts of stimulating rage with the demolishing backdrop of the nuclear Thrash that’s being deployed by the band. Guitarists Blake Ibanez and Nick Stewart play flawlessly entwining with one another amidst the solo’s and riffs they use to melt the faces of Seattle. Bassist Chris Whetzel provides the booming backdrop with his frantic playing & drummer Chris Ulsh keeps the tempo above the recommended headbanging speed but does so without a care in the world. The band are having fun doing what they love, it’s obvious. Hell, halfway through Executioners Tax, Gale tells someone named ‘Charlie’ to get off their phone before thrusting his chords to growl "Swing Of The Axe".

If there’s ever been a band you need to see, or even hear live, Power Trip are definitely on that list. From someone who’s seen the band twice, they put their all into their shows to provide the best possible time for themselves and the audience. Seattle was subjected to a pounding, and I don’t think it’s ever recovered. 8/10

Haunt: Flashback (Church Recordings) [Matt Bladen]

Trevor William Church, frontman/guitarist of Beastmaker returns with his solo project Haunt a more NWOBHM inspired record. Now I've reviewed pretty much every Beastmaker and Haunt release so I knew exactly what to expect on this fourth full length record but does familiarity breed contempt? Flashback opens with some of that NWOBHM-like punchy riffage of Tokyo Blade and Angel Witch, Church I believe plays everything on this album once again showing his musical dexterity as he cranks out the galloping riffage on Winter's Breath, it also marks Haunt's debut release on Church Recordings, Trevor's own record label.

At just 31 minutes, there's no time to hang around as the songs come at you thick and fast with all those audio clues to that seminal 1980's UK scene. He has brought some of the occult touches from Beastmaker on Flashback as well with a little twiddling keyboard interlude behind the chorus of Electrified though One With The Universe has a lot of American speed metal to it, all frantic double kicks and some nifty flicks of the fretting wrist. Before you know it you're on your fourth beer and the eighth, and final, track of this record digging out you leather and studs ready for another mosh in your front room. A very genuine homage to the genre that have influenced so many, with a Terminator-like work-ethic I can only imagine how many Beastmaker and Haunt albums we will have later this year and next year, due to lockdown! For now though Flashback will have to satisfy those NWOBHM cravings. 8/10

Viatorem: No Saviours No Kings (Self Released) [Matt Bladen]

Politically charged progressive hardcore/deathcore band Viatorem (Latin for Traveller/Messenger) hail from the English capital, and use their music to call out the injustice in the world focussing on "parliamentary and political systems, the oppression and dehumanisation of peoples around the globe, the prejudice toward those needlessly deemed “not welcome”, and the rising threat of the far-right." So really never was there a more vital time for them to be trying to spread their vitriolic rage. Formed just a year ago, Ross (Vocals), Serge (Guitar), Pip (Guitar), Rodrigo (Bass), Finn (Drums), have already managed to bring together a self produced EP of 6 raging metal tracks that lay down Viatorem's manifesto against hate.

The crushing Obsolete opens up the album with blistering death riffs and snarled vocals, as with most of the core styles, the song evolves into a massive breakdown in the mid-section before bouncing into some bass-led crushing. Elsewhere we have bouncy Grendel, Exalt is fast and brutal, at least after the massive breakdown that opens it up, while Despair opening is stripped back before the aggression moves in once again climaxing this 6 track record. The production is very D.I.Y but that does give a rawness to these rallying cries. There is no quarter given on No Kings No Saviours it's pumped full of rage and puts anyone in a position of oppressive power on notice. Play loud! 7/10

Stinky: Of Lost Things (M-Theory Audio) [Liam True]

The Hardcore genre has a love/hate relationship with me. There’s only a few select bands I really like in the scene. Until Stinky came along with Of Lost Things. The record is pure pandemonium from start to finish. The French quintet have excelled from their previous releases with their song writing. While their sound has stayed the same, their ability to manufacture a great album from point A to point B has become outstanding from the instrumental side to the hellish vocals.

With Stinky, you know what you’re going to get. You're getting an explosively charged album with the raging guitar and the battering drums of Seb, Titouan & Paul respectively. Then you have vocalist Claire, who I thought was Alexi Laiho for a good amount of the album. The screeches and wails that protrude from her are breathtaking and blend well with catastrophic beatdowns in the background. Sure there’s a few songs here that are hit and miss, but Revival Fire & Nosedive more than make up for it as their crammed with riffs. It’s a pretty good album that shouldn't be missed. Even if you don’t like Hardcore, it may convert you. 7/10

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