I’ve recently been listening to a lot of what are widely considered to be two of the greatest thrash albums of all time, DARK ANGEL’S Darkness Descends and MORBID SAINT’S Spectrum of Death. I don’t think it will be long before we see POWER TRIP mentioned in the same breath as those bands, as they have been on an extraordinary career-long hot streak, which shows no sign of stopping with their new album Nightmare Logic, out now on Southern Lord Records.
This is an extraordinarily difficult review to write, because this album is pretty much perfect. So I’ll try to do my best to explain what elevates this one above the usual burnouts, imitators, and wannabes. After a brooding intro, opening track “Soul Sacrifice” wastes no time in jumping headfirst into a grinding riff that will immediately have you wearing down your neck bones. That’s one thing about this record – it doesn’t waste any time at all doing anything; there’s not a single wasted second during its length, with the riff onslaught pausing only for a couple of samples sprinkled through for pacing.
Second track “Executioner’s Tax (Swing Of The Axe)” brings a bouncing riff and that super catchy parenthetical refrain, only for all hell to break loose on the next track “Firing Squad”. While the tempo changes throughout the album aren’t drastic, they’re enough to keep you invested in each song over its length and not once while listening to it did I ever feel fatigued or bored. POWER TRIP’S main claim to fame so far has been a wealth of riffs that would make Dave Mustaine’s hair turn green with envy, and a knack for structuring those riffs to make straightforward, hardcore-influenced tunes that leave a lingering taste of thrashy delight on your tongue and make you crave more and more.
Indeed, I found myself listening through the entirety of Nightmare Logic more often than not every time I put it on, finding it absolutely irresistible. Despite the vast majority of the riffs being fairly traditional thrash fare, there are little touches here and there that keep things memorable. The title track, for example, brings some haunting guitar harmonies and a solo that sounds like Jeff Hanneman’s guitar being exorcised of the demons it brought about on Hell Awaits.
I have to reach to find anything to criticize on this disc, which isn’t really my style. Perhaps the song structure is fairly homogenous; don’t expect to find a “Lucretia”-type track on here or anything like METALLICA’S frequent deviations from the thrash norm. With that being said, for an album that clocks in at just over 30 minutes, Nightmare Logic doesn’t wear out its welcome through lack of variety, so I won’t hold that against it. Sometimes less is more, and I would shake the hands of all the guys in this band in turn for not making me listen to a bloated, front-loaded 55-minute snoozefest with all the good material padded out with mediocrity to claim a “value for the consumer”. Fuck that!
Nightmare Logic is simply nothing more than the most satisfying aspects of thrash metal boiled down to their bones and then coated with adamantium like Wolverine for a razor finish. It’s satisfying, it’s catchy, it’s fast, it’s got a pleasingly gritty production, and there’s no reason whatsoever to not add this one to your collection.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM