Chicago’s Trials is the best thrash band you’ve never heard of and their new album In the Shadow of Swords is out now and awesome. The reason you haven’t heard of them is because they don’t wear tight pants and high tops and rip off Voivod, not because they’re not talented. They didn’t get picked up by a label hopping a bandwagon, and the chick in the band plays an instrument instead of singing.

Trials - In the Shadow of Swords

No, instead, Trials is a modern thrash band, with touches of melodic death bound deep into their riffy, progressive sound. Unfortunately, when people say “modern thrash” there is a tendency to think “metalcore.” This is not metalcore, instead this is a natural extension of the best thrash offered us in the ’80s and ’90s, without the fine aura of nostalgia. Here there be only riffs. Riffs and riffs and riffs and riffs. The sound is fat, occasionally brutal, and tough as shit. Even though the bass is too dropped in the mix (I LOVE YOU USHA! TURN IT UP!), that’s about the only complaint I have.

Check out “Believers in Black” and “Embracing Nothing” (and the epic cover of Priest‘s “Jawbreaker), if you can’t be arsed to listen to the whole album, but it’s available for your perusal and download in just about any format you’d like from the band’s Bandcamp. Trials also have a Facebook and given how old these guys are, they probably even have a Friendster account and a Livejournal. Hell, you can even stream the whole thing right here, in case you’ve got a broken clicking finger.

Oh, by the way, I asked ’em 10 questions and I guess their guitarist Ryan Bruchert responded like the champ he is (still not Luca Turilli on a dinosaur, though). Catch ’em after the embed here. And for full disclosure, this is Fisting Andrew Golota’s band. Does that make me biased? Probably. Oh noes!

1: What’s Your Favorite Kind of Cheese?

I sampled a cheese last week, which was a Columbia Bodensee Butterkase, and it smelled like week-old corpse vagina. At the time, it was long before its “sell by” date, which to me implies that if it smelled so abominable when it is fresh, braving the scent when it was actually spoiled might be similar to opening the Ark of the Covenant. I wasn’t sure if it was enough to just throw it in the garbage or if I needed a witchdoctor to purify my house of angry spirits. This cheese wedge knew my deepest fears.

Wait… what was the question again?

2: Why Not Mozzarella?

Mozzarella is great.

3: If You Could Break a String Live which Would It Be?

I have never broken a string live. If I had to, it would be Usha’s “G” bass string. She’d make the sacrifice for the sake of the show, I’m sure. Thrash metal or any sub-genre underneath it functions just fine on three strings per instrument.

4: Why Doesn’t Your Bassist Fight for More Place in Your Mix?

You will have to understand that Usha does fight for her bass to be heard in the mix, and the rest of the band does too. However, when attempting to live up to the standards of what makes a great metal album, there is a guideline that must be followed. Great metal albums like …and Justice For All and Slayer‘s entire catalogue (and why not? – Manowar) would not have the impact they had if there was a hint of low end in the mix. Even Cliff Burton knew to make his bass sound like a guitar, and he is argued to be one of the greatest metal bassists ever.

In the end, Usha and the band understood that while she has done a remarkable job writing bass lines and, personally, has been one of the smartest, most exceptional bass players I have had the pleasure of working with, the world just was not ready for a thrash metal band with a bass player. So, we drowned that bass in the mix like an unwanted adopted puppy in the river – except our scenario was much, much sadder.

5: When Do I Get My CD?

Don’t get our CD. It isn’t the ideal media that represents our work. Sure, it is the easiest way to listen to the album on different devices with nearly the accessibility that MP3 offers, but we are currently in the works of In the Shadow of Swords on 8 track tape. The idea originally was to release it on audio cassette tape, but we found out recently that there are other bands out there that are currently implementing that idea. We have to stay ahead of the game, and our attempts to be “unique” will not be outdone. Some disclaimers – you may be able to get an 8 track player through your local craigslist or by scouring garage sales in your local neighborhood. Also, with the song lengths being what they are, there is likely to be a few tracks that will be cut-off due to flipping the cassette tape over. Believe me when I say that it is worth it – it will sound unbelievable!

6: Have You Ever Considered Covering “The Prophecy” by Iron Maiden?

If we’re talking of covering an Iron Maiden deep cut, my vote is for “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner” long before we even consider “The Prophecy”. Sorry to break your heart. [I HATE YOU I HATE YOU I HATE YOU! – AMG]

7: Why Do the Terrorists Hate Us?

It was after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in the 1990s that terrorists expressed opposition to the introduction of foreign military to Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden criticized the Saudi royal family publicly and alleged that their invitation of foreign troops to the Arabian peninsula constituted an affront to the sanctity of the birthplace of Islam and a betrayal of the global Islamic community. Bin Laden issued a declaration of Jihad against the United States that signaled his emergence as an internationally recognizable figure, condemned U.S. presence in Saudi Arabia, and voiced opposition to U.S support for Israel.

8: Who’s Your Favorite TV Pundit?

I actually had to do a Google search – I am that unfamiliar with your pundits that exist in the world of television. Having said that, my favorite that I can think of would have to be Morbo.

9: If You Could Visit Any Planet What Would You Choose?

Venus. If I am going to die horribly in any atmosphere, it will be an atmosphere that rains sulfuric acid with hurricane winds blowing temperatures of plus 400 degrees Celsius. Venus will not only be the most merciful killer, but the most metal.

10: Wait, You’re in a Band?

Wait, this is an interview??

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