Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Power Trip - Manifest Decimation

Ripping and tearing

Crossover thrash does indeed have a pretty literal definition: "a mix of thrash metal and hardcore punk".  And yet with this fairly loose and open ended with a ton of theoretical wiggle room, a vast majority of the bands playing the style seem totally content to just be DRI or MOD with lyrics about partying, pizza, nachos, Ninja Turtles, yadda yadda you know the deal.  The legions of Municipal Waste clones really drag the entire scene down, and proclaiming yourself as a fan of the genre pretty much automatically pins you with the stigma of flat billed caps, sleeveless denim, skateboards, beer, and pubic lice.  That's why Power Trip here is so refreshing, because it actually is a pretty neat combo of thrash and hardcore, a pretty literal one we don't see very often. 

Coming off the doom/sludge/black/drone drenched roster of Southern Lord, these Texans come flying out of the gate with unbridled aggression, and a serious hardcore influence that makes their presence on the label not seem too crazy.  From the moment Manifest Decimation kicks into gear, it spends the the next half hour just pounding its way into your skull with a very dirty, gritty sound.  This isn't your typical party thrash that "crossover" usually makes you think of, this is fucking vicious.  A big part of this is the production job, which is just stellar.  Everything sounds huge, but it's not particularly clear.  It's very gritty and drenched in echo and reverb, like it's being played inside a tunnel.  The vocals are the most obvious example.  The production job actually does well in highlighting the aggression and sharpness of the riffs, so I see no reason to complain about it.  It's a little unorthodox, but so is a crossover thrash album with an average song length around four minutes.

As I mentioned, the old school hardcore influence is very prevalent, and mixes gorgeously with the highly prominent thrash.  The mark Black Flag left on this band is pretty goddamn huge, and it helps them stand out from the legions of simple Cross Examination types of bands in the scene.  Manifest Decimation takes one part Black Flag, one part Slayer, and one part Kreator, thereby creating some of the most outwardly ferocious music to be released this year.  It's dripping with vitriol, and throughout the entire runtime of the album, I find myself enjoying it.

There is one somewhat major problem.  Most of the songs... just, well aren't very memorable.  They're fun while they're on and provide an excellent soundtrack with which to beat your chest and punch strangers, but after spinning this roughly a dozen times, the only songs or riffs that really stick out to me in any way are "Manifest Decimation", "Power Trip", and "Hammer of Doubt".  So this is kind of a flash in the pan type album, but it's incredibly good for being one.  So overall, Power Trip still stands as a welcome breath of fresh air in a very stagnant scene that is in dire need of innovation.  The only really innovation the band makes it to bring in some more old school west coast hardcore influence than most bands, but it's still a nice change of pace, and the lengthy songs are also a neat spin on the usual template.  It may not stick with you, but it's worth a listen, if nothing else.

RATING - 75%

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