Sweden’s Trial had a fantastic outing on their last album ‘Vessel’. For their new release for their new home on Metal Blade, the band have expanded their influences and made inroads towards experimenting with different sounds and feelings. Also a new logo and presentation, see expect something a touch different!

There is still the traditional Mercyful Fate inspired tracks like ‘Cold Comes the Night’ and the cracking ‘In Empyrean Labour’, then there are other tunes that kind of stick out rather being inclusive a complete flowing album. The opener and title track ‘Motherless’ sits in the standard power metal spectrum, mainly due to the vocals as they are less sinister, more straight ahead high pitched in range. Then the quirkiness of ‘Birth’ enters the arena. This is really unforgiving in some places, the sound and tone actually endure a little pain for your hearing such is the augmented chord and note use, of course in reality birth itself is not really a pleasurable experience, so perhaps that band are portraying this human emotion. But once you sit with the track for a while, you get where it is going, but alas as a casual listen, it’ll divide opinion.

The outstanding track of the release for me is ‘Embodiment’. This has the classic Trial sound with new elements added. The many layers and textures sit well and provide pleasurable responses as the track develops. The closer, ‘Rebirth’ builds upon a theme and again ends with some agreeable musical arrangements. Trail state, this is a wordless language their music, I can see what they mean with a track like ‘Birth’, but I feel listeners may struggle to grasp the initial concept of the bands vision and albeit experimentation, it took a while for myself.

As a standalone release, you need to spend time to comprehend this, I would expect an album like the bands earlier material but there are still elements that remain.

(7.5/10 Paul Maddison)