“Steel, speed and destruction” is the summary given on Power Trip’s own page. Taking old school thrash metal values and combining them with punk hardcore seems to be about where this Texan band is at. Although I’m familiar with the likes of Exodus, Nuclear Assault and of course Motorhead, from whom there are influences, this is crossover metal of a kind I don’t normally listen to. So, in my deeper research, I found myself wallowing in crusty 80s punk stuff like Hellbastard. Not entirely irrelevant when you listen to it, and all very educational for me, but I had to drag myself away from this and into the world of Power Trip.
The deep and scary electronic sound resembles a plague of flies. The bass resounds and stays there for around 35 minutes. Violence and horror are in the atmosphere. There’s a black metal feel – Hellbastard and Venom again come to mind. The pace becomes frantic and to distorted sounds and anarchic guitars and drums, there’s a piece of punk in there. Hardcore chorus, chugging drums – it’s all mixed up. Instrumental control is sharp. The guitars saw through steel. That was the title track. “Heretic’s Fork” starts with more mayhem. The vocalist sounds like he’s shouting through fog. Aggression peers round every corner. So does the energy, and that’s what I like about it. Even the finesse of the guitar solos comes with a threat. The guitars are cutting again. It’s all geared to a merciless attack. I love that enveloping sound. There’s no escape. The riff is exciting. The singer’s screams signal suffering. Wild sounds can be heard as the juggernaut steams on. “Conditioned to Death” is an apt title. Another adrenaline-inducing start then signals a 500 tonne charge. The bass and drum split our ears as the unstoppable machine, surrounded here on “Murderer’s Row” by spooky moaning, continues its destructive journey. The ground’s going to explode in a minute. The track ends dismissively.
“Bloody heavy” with hardcore punk is how I’d describe “Crossbreaker”. The riff is irresistible and highly conducive to headbanging. It’s so heavy that it will pump through every bone of your body. There’s a distinct Motorhead “catchiness” here. It’s as if work has to be done. “Drown” begins and the guitar carves its way through human flesh, steel and anything else it can find. The vocalist screams. Ah, I’d forgotten about the punk – here we go now. And with the punk goes a good bit of anarchy. Hang on … we’re back at chug-a-chug-a-chug-a. Fancy having your head sawn off, sir? This’ll do nicely. It’s not over yet. The track (as opposed to the band) “Power Trip” is a total thrash assault, complete with crustiness. The hardcore boys get in and have their say too. The solo matches the energy of this pumping and vibrant track. “Power Trip” is a great song with its changes of pace, changes of style. There may be nothing nice about it all but it’s thoroughly enjoyable. To finish, “The Hammer of Doubt” has a spoken intro from a Texan. Thunderous drums roll once more. The vocalist echoes his words through rampant punk. Can the thrash metal get faster and harder? Yes, it can. Let’s have a bit of psychedelic guitar work while we’re at it. Drums pound, the vocalist screams and guitars blaze… Power Trip are on the march and we’re all out of breath.
I didn’t get this album at first but the more I listened to “Manifest Decimation”, the more I liked the combinations of constant bass and drum with the riffage, the hardcore punk and thrash. Impressive. I need to continue with my research into this musical area.
(8/10 Andrew Doherty)