For the second album review in a row, I’m reviewing an album of a band who’s recently become defunct. Thankfully, at least as far as I know, nobody from Trials has died. However, their Facebook page has a recent announcement that they’re no longer active. I’m worried that me planning to review a great album is now becoming some kind of kiss of death for bands.
This is a damned shame, since this is an awesome thrash metal album. Thrash is kind of an underserved genre in this decade. I’ve raved about Reign Of Fury on this website, but Trials differs from them in a couple of ways. While Reign Of Fury is unapologetically throwback, Trials is definitely of the present. The most obvious difference between this and 80’s thrash is that Trials has eschewed the Joey Belladonna soaring vocals style and brought in more of a death metal growl to the mix. When vocalist Mark Sugar does go into a singing style, which I’d say is about 15-20% of the vocals on the album, it’s more in line with a tough baritone more similar to Metallica’s James Hetfield than the more operatic bent of some of most famous thrash bands.
Speaking of Metallica, This Ruined World, can kind of be seen as an alternative sequel to Master Of Puppets, if Metallica had gone a slightly different route than they did on …And Justice For All. And speaking of …And Justice For All, one aspect of this album that is unfortunately not updated from 80’s thrash is the lack of bass. I even had to look it up to make sure the band did employ a bassist. They report that they do, but she’s buried awfully deep in the mix, giving the sound a feel that is, at times, too thin and mid-range. But that’s like my only complaint. Everything else is a wonderful mix of what worked 25 years ago and what’s awesome now.
And one thing I really appreciate about metal, and thrash in particular, is that it’s been the only genre of music that’s reliably deigned to take on messaging around current events over the past few decades is metal. On this album you’ve got rants against politics and TV news (“Truth Defiled”), religion (“Don’t Believe The Word”), probably the Catholic church sex abuse scandal (“They Hide Behind The Law”), and the environment (the title track).
With This Ruined World, Trials have made an almost perfect thrash metal album. I’m pissed that they’ve broken up. Will my next review break the Fat Clown curse? Stay tuned.
Mix: “Disgraced And Erased”
Love: “Blink Of An Eye”
Really Like: “Truth Defiled,” “Beat The System To Death,” “They Hide Behind The Law,” “This Ruined World”
Like: “Don’t Believe The Word,” “Digging My Own Grave,” “Inheritance”
Song Notes: None