Band: Trial (Swe.)
Record Label: Metal Blade Records
Release Date: April 7, 2017
Metal is somehow simultaneously the most communal and internally divisive musical genre. For every dirty club filled with like-minded metalheads enjoying their passion together there are handfuls of arguments happening regarding what constitutes a real metal band, which bands are still putting out good albums or even whether a particular sub-genre qualifies as respectable metal (you’ll come back around nu-metal, be patient). Yet, every now and again there’s an album so undeniably heavy metal that it cannot be argued, Trial’s Motherless falls in that category.
Now, there is a fine line between putting out a quality traditional metal album in 2017 and putting out a rehashed and watered down version of another bands classic material. Yet, Trial is able to build on the foundations set by classic bands while creating a sound of their own. The album opens up with the title track “Motherless”, which begins a slow build that includes all your favorite heavy metal trademarks, dual guitars, a melodic bass line, and a nice long vocal high note with vibrato in all the right places before picking up the pace and establishing the feel of the album. The first part of the album stays the course and by the third track, “Cold Comes the Night”, Trial delivers the most straight forward and driving metal track on the album which has an unquestionable “Red Sharks” (Crimson Glory) vibe. The second part of the album finds itself in less defined territory, particularly in the final three tracks which seamlessly connect into one over 20 minute section of music full of both atmosphere and power.
One of the strongest characteristics of Motherless is that it is consistently unpredictable. The album’s focus is clearly based around individual songs rather than one repetitive sound that blurs from track to track. Where you might expect a galloping rhythm section you’ll find eeriness and thick atmosphere or where you’d expect a Dickinson style catchy vocal line you’ll find placement reminiscent of Arch-era Fates Warning. Another impressive aspect is the individual performances on the album. Each member is able to stand out without taking away from songs as a whole.
Motherless is memorable, atmospheric, progressive, dark, melodic and catchy. There’s no room to argue the metal credibility of Trial’s Motherless and will surely be among the strongest traditional metal albums of 2017.
RIYL: Mercyful Fate, Memento Mori, Early Fates Warning, Crimson Glory