Nightmare Logic reviews
Grumpy%20Cat on March 1st, 2018
In between the worn out albums of tired out classic thrashers and the uncreative worship of many "rethrash" band, thrash metal is a genre that coasts on nostalgia and the legacy and timelessness of 80s entries to stay relevant and listenable past the year... oh let's just do a rough ball park and say past 2001 or so. Bands continue to rise and fall based on a matter of how many small twists they can lay on top of a thick foundation of Slayer and Exodus worship.
Then within the last decade a crossover thrash band came and breached the divide. Power Trip provides riffs that are 100% thrashy but without sounding like they got pulled off of Bonded By Blood, Reign in Blood or Darkness Descends. In fact they lean so close to the hardcore side of crossover that the erratic limb swinging of hardcore dancers is more prevalent at their concerts than at like minded entries such as DRI or Municipal Waste. This is the kind of band you hear fans of deathcore acts like Slaughter to Prevail and Lorna Shore gush about and yet it is devoid of the same chug riffs and breakdowns.
Nightmare Logic is a good release because it takes two stale and long worn out genres and breathes life back into both. It it thrash metal that was written for hardcore dancing, not for circle pits, but it was hardcore that was written for Slayer fans, not fans of Sick Of It All. It's intense, it's violent, the drums could alternate between a steady midpaced frame work and a high speed pummeling in a split second.
TrooperEd on February 11th, 2018
Is worth maybe a deciliter below its hype...
I feel like this is a band and an album where I should be throwing out 90s, declaring death to celebrities in Slayer shirts and that my cunt has been ripped out with a can opener, but I'm just not with Nightmare Logic. Don't get me wrong, this is quite good, but for all the instant "album of the year" declarations I feel like it just needs something a bit more. Still, if all the accolades means this band hits a breakthrough and finds themselves doing appearances on SNL or something, I have no issue with that.
I remember watching an interview with Riley saying how they wanted a more rock & roll feel with this album with songs and hooks. They also specifically went out of their way to NOT have double bass drumming or blastbeats. Normally I would tell someone with that kind of attitude to get fucked but it's actually refreshing. Very commendable on both counts. Not sure how one can pull off a hook with that vocal style though. Even Bonded By Blood had singalongs like And Then There Were None. Speaking of Exodus comparisons, I get that these guys are crossover, but there's enough of these hardcore barking type of vocals floating around as it is. When Baloff did it in 85, NO ONE sounded like that. Everyone does it now but most of them miss that violent criminal mischief tone in Baloff's tone.
One thing I'll give full marks for though, is that there is not a second of the idiotic poison Pantera groove that infiltrated the thrash sound of many so called early 2000s comebacks like Shadows Fall. Nightmare Logic is however, very, very mid-tempo thrash. There's also alot of distortion intros for some dumb reason. The fist-fuck-with-a-brick thrash is still here, but it's a tad more sparse than it should be. I was going to say you'll finally come across it around Firing Squad, but I had forgotten that there actually was a section of it around the middle of opening track Soul Sacrifice. I had to think about it because we have to wait almost two minutes to get to it.
If Power Trip wants my advice for the next album, I'd suggest a little less Madhouse and a little more Burning of Sodom. I know that sounds like I'm demanding more double bass given which drummer is involved in the making of the latter, but I'm not. I'm suggesting push the guitar rhythms faster and the tempo along with it. I mean hell, these guys claim they're crossover, they should be like modern day Sonic telling the Skeletonwitches and Toxic Holocausts that they're too slow. "Gotta go fast" and all that jazz. By all means snag yourself a copy of Nightmare Logic, just be wary of the hype, and adjust expectations accordingly.
kluseba on January 16th, 2018
Pitiless Slayer meet nightmarish Voivod sounds
After many positive reviews and enthusiastic mentions on numerous lists for album of the year, I decided to give Power Trip a second chance. I had seen the band in concert with Iron Reagan last year but hadn't been particularly impressed. Nightmare Logic is a revival thrash record that could have been released about thirty years earlier than it actually was.
This record has the oppressive energy of Slayer with an at times discordant and dystopian vibe that wouldn't sound of place on a Voivod record. The album convinces with coherent songwriting from start to finish and has a very natural flow thanks to a clear stylistic guideline. Chugging mid-paced passages meet ferocious up-tempo parts. Everything is hold together by an oppressive atmosphere, technically appealing musicianship and raw throaty vocals that blend in perfectly. The old-school production as well as the detailed cover artwork deserve honorable mentions.
However, Power Trip doesn't offer anything one wouldn't have heard before. Despite its vivid flow, the record is missing a truly outstanding track. The album comes along as a bullet train but doesn't give you anything outright memorable. It also bothers me a little that the record only includes eight songs with a running time below thirty-three minutes which isn't exactly value for money by today's standards.
In the end, if you're looking for a half hour of old school thrash metal power somewhere between Slayer's pitiless oppressive style and Voivod's nightmarish technical side, you will get a very decent record that takes no prisoners and entertains from start to finish without any noteworthy highs or lows. If you are looking for an original or outstanding release, you might feel disappointed that many people claimed this record to be last year's best effort. I would buy the record for a reduced price but it's for faithful collectors and genre fans only.
EzraBlumenfeld on January 5th, 2018
1989 but in 2017
In the 1980s and '90s, thrash was the dominating genre of metal (besides glam, which doesn't count), and for good reason. The guitars were fast and technical, the drums were loud and innovative, and the vocals were raw and angry. When thrash was overshadowed by death metal and grunge, thrash hit a hard decline marked by such releases as Metallica's Load and Slayer's Divine Intervention, and the subgenre was permanently damaged by the lack of quality music being produced. Since then, a "New Wave of Thrash Metal" has arisen, with bands such as Skeletonwitch, Evile, Havok, Lich King, and Bonded By Blood at the forefront of the movement. However, many of these bands are criticized for either their tendency to copy classic thrash bands, or to stray too far from the boundaries of the genre.
However, in Power Trip's latest release, Nightmare Logic, the fivesome from Texas has produced a masterpiece that is both inspired and original. While it may not have stood out had it been released in the late '80s or early '90s, this is one of the few albums of the recent years that carries the torch of thrash metal in the direction it should have gone. Combining the riffs of classic thrashers like Nuclear Assault, Exodus, and Dark Angel with some slight hints at more modern groove from bands like Pantera, Lamb of God, and Machine Head, the band manages to create a hellish masterpiece that could have very easily been released 25 years ago.
The first thing that stands out upon listening to this album is the production quality. While much modern day metal is either over-produced almost to the point of it losing its human elements or it is underproduced and the notes and lyrics are inaudible, Power Trip masterfully creates the perfect tone and balance between instruments. Every note, chord, drum fill, and lyric is perfectly discernible; but the band did not opt for the bottom-heavy, ridiculously down-tuned, and computerized sound of so many modern metal bands. The drums are real, not triggered. And the vocals are not at the forefront of the music, making it feel more like classic thrash and less like modern high-tech metal.
All eight songs on Nightmare Logic have a few things in common: great songwriting and structure; sheer heaviness; chugging riffs; and shouted, somewhat raspy vocals. There are thrashy riffs ("Firing Squad") and groovy riffs ("Executioner's Tax (Swing of the Axe)"), which are combined and intertwined with precision. Although the songs are relatively short, each is powerful and complicated, and each being host to several quality riffs. The drum patterns are relatively simplistic, but they are hard-hitting and they get the job done well. The vocals are amelodic but not monotone, and there are even a few awesome screams thrown in here and there, such as in "Waiting Around to Die." There is an abundance of controlled feedback on this album (apparent throughout in the whammy bar solos and the intro of "Executioner's Tax"), creating a sinister hellish soundscape reminiscent of Slayer's classic "Raining Blood."
There is no question in my mind that this was one of, if not the #1, best metal albums of 2017. Its released mark a new rebirth of thrash metal, and it may just go down in history as one of the greatest thrash albums of all time. Through their solid songwriting and production, Power Trip cemented themselves as kingpins of the New Wave of Thrash Metal and set a high bar for bands to meet in the future. No more shall this modern resurgence of thrash be frowned upon by old-school elitists who claim that this movement is a ripoff of the classic metal masters of yore, as Power Trip has taken a step forward and restarted the process of progress and evolution from what the classic bands started.
Twisted_Psychology on November 20th, 2017
Even a Killer has to get paid
It’s been four years since Power Trip released their debut album, Manifest Decimation. Such a gap can be detrimental to the momentum of a growing band but the Dallas group seems to have stayed busy in that time gigging and putting out a few smaller scale releases. It also sounds like they’ve been fine tuning their particular brand of crossover thrash; Nightmare Logic not only proves superior to their debut but is already proving to be one of the strongest thrash albums in recent memory.
While Power Trip’s style is still somewhere between Bay Area thrash, hardcore, and the earliest death metal demos, they demonstrate a great deal of progress on Nightmare Logic. In addition to an endearingly muffled production job that recalls classic Scott Burns, there is a greater emphasis on mid-tempo riffs this time around. While this would raise fears of the band venturing into watered down groove territory, this incorporation helps build up tension on the lengthy intros throughout and make songs like “Waiting Around to Die” even more mosh-friendly.
Going along with that, the songwriting is quite catchy for a band with such grimy production and abrasive vocals. “Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe)” is the best track on here thanks to some good friendly violent fun that’s somewhere between Sepultura’s “Inner Self” and Exodus’s “Toxic Waltz.” The title track and “If Not Us Then Who” also stand out for matching militant deliveries with infectious chugs that recalls The Legacy-era Testament.
Overall, Nightmare Logic sees Power Trip climbing to the top of the modern thrash hierarchy with only the subtlest evolution on display. You’ve heard bands like this before and I’m sure their energy alone would be enough to make them be able to blow anybody else off stage, but the memorable songwriting is what makes them truly stand out in the scene. Nightmare Logic may not be an “important” game changer like any given Vektor album but you’ll have a hell of a time listening to it.
“Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe)”
“Waiting Around to Die”
“If Not Us Then Who”
Originally published at http://psychicshorts.blogspot.com
Twin_guitar_attack on May 21st, 2017
Despite being one of the most hyped metal albums of the year so far, it wasn’t until they supported Napalm Death last week in London that I checked out Power Trip’s sophomore album Nightmare Logic. Listening to it before the show I was impressed, and their live intensity was immense too. Take Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All, double the intensity and throw some Slayer and crossover thrash into the mix, all updated to the 2010’s with a modern production and you have the fearsome riff machine that is Nightmare Logic.
The huge chainsaw buzz to the ominous lumbering opening riff of Soul Sacrifice starts proceedings alongside an eerie wah-driven solo showing what Power Trip are all about – classic thrash. Kicking it up to speed with a killer fast riff and pounding drums similar to Metallica’s first album (but with more sense of pacing than Lars ever had), but with a better more modern production to the guitars the album starts as it means to go on with an absolute riff fest. There are few moments on the album that you don’t want to headbang along to, whether the groove laden slower crossover riffs, Kill Em All-esque chugs or Bonded By Blood-esque bursts of speed, everything gets the blood pumping and the head moving. The fretboard abuse is kept to a minimum, the album isn’t loaded with solos but when they do kick off they’re at a blistering pace, hammering the fretboard with frenetic energy ala Reign in Blood. The vocals are vicious, a super aggressive high pitched raspy shout that’s still a hundred percent understandable, a hardcore and crossover influence coming through with as much as a razor sharp bite as the guitars.
With only one track Crucifixation over the five minute mark it’s all killer no filler, ripping, snarling, tearing and bulldozing through thirty two minutes of pure unadulterated thrash fun. It’s short, but that never stopped Reign in Blood being a classic right? On Nightmare Logic Power Trip don’t re-write the thrash metal rulebook, and barring the modern production this could have been released in 1985 – but I defy you to find a more fun and unrelentingly headbangable metal album from 2017.
Originally written for swirlsofnoise.com
SweetLeaf95 on May 17th, 2017
As if 2017 hasn't been a good enough year without the discovery of smaller projects, the addition of them just expands the greatness ten-fold. Let alone the fact that Nightmare Logic is a beautifully crafted slice of new age thrash metal, but the composure here is magnificent! Though I don't see a lot of hardcore punk qualities, it certainly does a fair share of borrowing from other metals and metalloids that mix together for a fantastically baked treat.
The crossover part of this project definitely lies within the vocals; seeing that they use the typical raspy roar with dust laying atop to dirty them up a little bit. The nice thing is, you can actually hear all of the emotion in his voice, and everything is purely screamed, no whisper-scream bullshit that so many people seem to love. It's definitely formula driven, and there's no doubt that aggression and hatred is what it's all about, so it fails to vary in the sense of making a statement, but at least the fact that it's consistent and doesn't drag on at all is worth noting. But don't let that fool you, because the instrumentation takes all but the same path. The guitars show no issues with going into slower and more melodic territory, especially with the intro of the opener, "Soul Sacrifice". "If Not Us, Then Who" and other ones do a good job of taking advantage of this ability to create catchy hooks that reel the listener right in.
Moreover, it isn't too fret board happy, feeling no need to clutter the release with long screechy drawn out solos. Some definitely come off as pure Reign In Blood worship; it just doesn't rely on that for a crutch, thankfully. Something that stands out for sure is the drumming. The drummer clearly borrows from death metal, adding more weight to the material. Seriously, the drum tracks are like something right off of Leprosy, with blast beats, cymbal clashing all around, and full utilization of the bass kicks. Mostly, this sums up to be a nasty crossover thrash record with some death metal squeezed in, but it certainly dips into some groovy riffs, once again adding to the hooks that are present.
Power Trip aren't a band that you hear much about, but I assure you that this record lives up to the 2017 thrash killers that Overkill and Kreator started the year with. If you dig either record, give this a whirl. Stylistically, it's different from what they deliver, but the quality is just as high.
Mostly%20Metal%20Dad on April 21st, 2017
Throwback thrash in the best way
At first listen, Power Trip's Nightmare Logic sounds for all the world like your typical thrash throwback -- a pandering, nostalgia-laden love-letter to a decades-saturated genre. So why the fuck am I enjoying it so much?
It proudly wears common thrash trappings like whammy bar-wankery, retro reverb, time-twisting tempo changes, and syncopated percussive punching ripped right from Ride the Lightning and other damned-obvious source material. And after multiple listens, I still can’t pinpoint any effort Power Trip has made to modernize what they’re doing on Nightmare Logic. Therefore, I have to conclude that this Texas quintet has written an honest-to-God goddamned good thrash album.
"Soul Sacrifice” riffs with Exodus-esque enthusiasm before breaking into a Slayer-like sprint. “Executioner’s Tax” rolls like thunder toward a passage of Ulrich-ian tom pounding, building up tension to return to a lightning-crack chorus. “Waiting Around to Die” -- with its palm-muted to open-note picking pattern and hazy production -- could fit right at home on So Far, So Good… So What! (and even fits better, if you remember that “502” exists). It’s all stuff we’ve heard before, but even Power Trip’s previous effort, 2013’s Manifest Decimation, didn’t get it this right.
What Nightmare Logic does so well is harness the infectious energy -- the no-nonsense, fluff-free, often-imitated intensity -- of the primordial Big Four and Co. and injects it full to bursting into nine solid songs.
Aside from a few lo-fi, analog-sounding synth intros and outros, there's barely a wasted second on the entire thing. Each song flows seamlessly between vicious verses, killer choruses, headbanging bridges, and dynamic breaks. Certain riffs occasionally get milked (the outro of “If Not Us Then Who” comes to mind), but it never takes too much of our time before we're tearing into another track. Even the tacked-on second-verse solos -- their inclusion more a regretful courtesy to the genre than anything truly noteworthy -- serve the higher purpose of stoking the reignited flames and keeping the old-school metal momentum going. Strange, then, that for all their efforts in recreating the past, Power Trip’s tunes are so good at moving us relentlessly forward.
Above all, the thing that would sell any Bay Area ‘banger on Nightmare Logic (and Power Trip as a whole) is the vocalist. We’ve endured thrash singers for years, we know what to expect: sharp, rapid barks, accenting the attack of the guitars. And although lyrically it’s nothing special, Riley Gale’s vocal delivery would have stood out even in ‘85. His brazen hardcore howls, occasionally dragging deliciously behind the beat, are pulled off with charisma and confidence. He’s not carrying the band by any means, but he’s a hurricane force to be sure.
Power Trip does seem to favor their 75-85 BPM backbeat-banger riffs, but given the nostalgic context these sections never feel out of place -- they're practically made to be played live and get the circle pit brewin’. I can perfectly picture the bridge from “Firing Squad” eliciting the kind of impromptu mosh pit camaraderie that makes you sling an arm around the slippery, sweaty shoulder of the hesher next to you -- and him to you -- and headbang in unison until both your goddamn heads rattle off.Nightmare Logic doesn’t surge with unrestrained electricity, or seek to impress us with phenomenal fret- or feet-work (the drummer doesn't have a double bass pedal). Power Trip wears their influences on their sleeves, and they don't spend a second trying to convince us they’re anything more than what they are. Instead, Nightmare Logic hits hard and plunges deep, an IV needle pumping us full of magical, time-traveling fluid, miraculously bringing what was once thought dead back to life. This concise, carefully executed package is the real deal.
If you’ve ever argued over whether Metallica or Megadeth was the better band, I can’t imagine you not liking Nightmare Logic.
(Review originally posted at Mostly Metal Dad)
Tanuki on April 16th, 2017
Power Trip Down Memory Lane
The only thing louder than Power Trip was the buzz surrounding the release of their sophomore Nightmare Logic. The buzz sounded like a swarm of bees brushing their teeth aboard the LZ 129 Hindenburg. I'm sure, then, you can imagine my confusion upon seeing only a single review left for it since its release. Where did all the hype go? Were people disappointed? Of course, all my questions were answered when I gave the album a listen. Turns out it's quite difficult to describe the sound of your whole world exploding.
Unlike many modern thrash bands whose sound is more capricious than their political opinions, Power Trip is very commited to their principles in Manifest Decimation. Namely, unrelenting barbarity from ferocious blastbeats, behemothic powerchords, and a vocalist sounding like he's treading on Lego blocks wherever he goes. A commitment that wasn't so welcome is the cathedralic echo in post-production, making compositions sound like they were recorded in a hangar for space shuttles. Of course, this only buffs up the chaotic and tumultuous sound they were doubtlessly going for, but does an 800-pound gorilla really need to be taking steroids?
The answer is "no, but every little bit helps". Tracks like 'Crucifixation' employ a vicious, uninhibited riffing style similar to speed/thrash pioneers Razor in their masterpiece Violent Restitution. Guitarists Blake Ibanez and Nick Stewart work off of each other effectively, with one delivering potent tremolo passages while the other ignites them with aberrant, bloodcurdling leads. There's a healthy, all-natural aura of sweaty brute force: no fancy tricks, no gimmicks, just elbow grease and a less-is-more approach that keeps tracks like 'Nightmare Logic' and 'Firing Squad' afloat.
Though, as is the problem with any band that opts for this approach, Nightmare Logic can be guilty of redundancy. 'Waiting Around to Die' is the ironically-titled track that marks the exact point where Power Trip emphatically shrugs its shoulders. They've already shown you what they're capable of, leaving us waiting around for the song to end. I'd like to stress that individual tracks are hugely impressive, though their flow is disappointingly mechanical. To listen to the entire album all in one sitting would be draining and not very satisfying, as the initial thundering fury eventually becomes the status quo.
With that said, the brisk thirty-minute run-time was a prudent choice from Power Trip - the album is exactly as long as it needed to be, ending on a high note and leaving my ears ringing and brain resembling a murky loofah. But sadly, I feel Manifest Decimation is the superior album, offering a greater amount of memorable moments and employing more varied and ambitious fretwork. But I realize how senseless that sounds. Comparing Power Trip albums is like comparing sledgehammers and their effectiveness against wedding cakes.
RapeTheDead on February 27th, 2017
modern thrash that doesn't suck!
Do you feel modern thrash metal is growing a bit old, with no real fire in the songs and bite in the riffs? Power Trip felt that way, and they decided to give thrash a big ol’ injection of cocaine in the eyeballs so that everybody could wake the fuck up and see what they were missing out on. Man, it’s been a while since a thrash band really grabbed me by the balls and made me angry and hyped the way that this Texan quintet does.
To be honest, my thrash tastes usually range on the wacky and proggy side of things, because I find if I’m looking for straight-up heaviness I gravitate towards death metal naturally. Nightmare Logic gives no fucks about genre preference. It’s a thundering slap in the face that gets your blood pumping as good as anything. Much of it has to do with the production, right off the bat. A healthy amount of reverb helps the songs resonate, and as a whole Nightmare Logic just has a sleek, crisp sound that’s very informed of modern extreme metal trends. Power Trip realizes that the key to writing a great thrash album isn’t just to recreate the exact riff style Kreator had in the 80s, but to instead use that as an occasional reference point for making heavy and punishing music.
There is not a single moment wasted on this album. Nightmare Logic alternates between explosive, ripping songs like “Soul Sacrifice”, “Firing Squad” and “Crucifixation”, and tasty grooving numbers like “Executioner’s Tax” and “If Not Us Then Who”, with a little bit of everything in between to keep things from going stale. The album strikes the perfect balance between playing to the band’s strengths and keeping things diverse enough to hold your attention throughout. There’s a bit more of a punk undertone, hence why these guys get labeled as crossover thrash, but I would argue the metal elements far outweigh the punk ones. They kept the brackish simplicity and no-bullshit songwriting, but the riffs and aesthetic are entirely thrash fucking metal. Power Trip aren’t big fans of extended solo sections or four-minute atmospheric interludes. They like riffs and they like it when you bang your head against the stage.
All of the musical characteristics mentioned above are great to have and everything, but that’s only the foundation. To really elevate your album to the next level, you have to have the right vocalist. All too often I start listening to some thrash, the riffs start to rev me up a little bit…and then some half-assed weak yelling comes in and all the momentum is lost. I can’t help it, I was raised on a diet of multi-tracked death metal vocals like those in Behemoth and Deicide. However, Riley Gale is the x-factor that elevates this album from “solid and worth a recommendation” to “holy FUCK this rips” with his bitter snarl. His voice fits perfectly with the thrash aesthetic but the delay effects and scratchier feel make him sound agonized and furious with an intensity that you don’t find very often, be it in the 1980s or the 2010s. It almost sounds like he’s taking the unhinged approach of John Tardy and compressing it into something a little more direct and precise. Vocalists can often make or break a band, and I think you can guess which side Gale falls on.
This is a bit of a strange position for me to find myself in. You’ll rarely find me enthusiastically praising thrash for the sake of thrash, but Nightmare Logic gives me no choice. Power Trip aren’t an experimental or unusual band (and the progression from Manifest Decimation is subtle at most), but it’s not that they’re doing anything different, it’s that they’re doing everything right. It might partially be due to having very little serious competition, but I can confidently state that this is the best pure thrash metal album I’ve heard in years. Recommended for fans of…do I really have to say it?
(originally written for the Metal Observer)