Remember the good old days when thrash spoke to every unhappy degenerate forced to take a piss as Big Brother stood by watching? It was a time when metalheads rose to the occasion, spoke to people better than even our greatest orators, and made a stand against crooked politicians. It was a time when being a rebel stood for something and tearing each other apart in circle pits and walls-of-death was the greatest form of therapy. OK, so that’s not exactly how many remembered the ’80s thrash craze. But, bands like Anthrax, Exodus, Metallica, and Testament spoke to at least one pissed-off kid that used them to fuel his anger. I was that pissed-off kid, even though I didn’t know what I was so pissed off about. Not to mention I didn’t have any reason to be. But, goddammit, I was part of the movement. Even if I had no idea what the fuck that meant either. I guess you just had to be there. And, if you weren’t, feel free to go back to your shoegazing while the rest of the boys and I get on a Power Trip.
I’ll be honest with you, thrash is the reason I picked up the guitar, stood before a mic, and threw angry saliva at the lone spectator at the foot of the stage. Thrash is why I’m a metalhead and thrash is why I’m here before you. Sure, my tastes have evolved quite a bit since those pimple-faced days, but a monster like Power Trip brings the memories flooding back. Yes, Power Trip reminds me of the good ole days, which means it’s a re-/neo-/retro-thrash outfit that does it the way it’s always been. But, man, they do it well. And, with Nightmare Logic, they’ve done it better than they’ve ever done it before.
For one, Riley Gale’s vocals are a harsher rendition of the Bloodclot (Cro-Mags)/Killian (Vio-lence) approach he took on their debut album, Manifest Decimation. It’s a perfect fit to the barrage of chugging, fast-picked guitars that fill this thirty-minute record from beginning to end. And the beginning is where, well… we begin. “Soul Sacrifice” is a neck-snapping number that starts from nothing, huffing and puffing harder than the world’s largest diesel engine. It even sports a build that climaxes into “Raining Blood” proportions. But Nightmare Logic doesn’t stop here. The conclusion to “Soul Sacrifice” is only the beginning of “Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe).” If you’ve heard the debut album from these Texas boys, I know you’ll remember “Crossbreaker.” “Executioner’s Tax” is that song’s illegitimate step-child. Do you want a song that charges the tallest castle walls on the planet (no matter the futility) and comes at you like a possessed, axe-wielding ape? Well, this is it. “Swing of the axe!” will be stuck in your head for a week.
For memorability, the title track, “Ruination,” and “Crucifixation” are on par with the previous two. Comparing extremes, the three-minute, testicle-stomping “Ruination” does its damnedest to match wits with the five-minute closer, “Crucifixation.” What the former lacks in time, it makes up for in catchiness—almost to the level of “Executioner’s Tax.” The closer is the lengthiest on the album, but the time it has for riff changes gives it a memorability “Ruination” can never have. In comparison to these tracks, “Nightmare Logic” and “If Not Us Then Who” fall a touch short, but what makes them work are the vocals. The riffs are still there, but Gale’s venom and his verse arrangements give them the kind of fuel to propel space shuttles.
As you can probably guess, I love this damn album. Yes, “love.” Nope, I didn’t give it a 4.0/5.0, but I still love it. Fucking deal with it. I have to admit I’m a little biased by the fun Power Trip and I had back at the Southwest Terror Fest, but this album is nothing more than in-your-face rethrash. It has an energy few retro-thrash bands are capable of capturing and I put it up there with the Havoks and Warbringers of the world. In the end, this is an enjoyable listen that smashes the band’s previous release into oblivion. It’ll also smash your eardrums into your skull. If you’re one of those people that hates thrash, I’m sure you can find some metalcore to appease your sad hearts. For all the thrashers of the world, you oughta have fun with this one.