As I didn't know a lot about Sweden's Trial, I decided to peruse their Facebook page a little to get my bearings before listening to their Metal Blade debut Motherless. Photos of the band playing live in Gothenburg, I see dueling twin guitars (Gibson Les Paul & Flying V), a Rickenbacker bass, studded leather, and a general look that screams 1982. So, the first thing that came to mind was that Trial are channeling that classic metal era, or more specifically the age of the NWOBHM. Finally listening to Motherless, that does indeed to be what the band are striving for, and with 10 years together as a group, multiple demo, EP, and album releases under their belt as well as numerous live gigs, Trial are ready to make a big splash with one of the most important metal labels in the world. Are they successful you might ask?
The quick answer is absolutely. Comprised of Linus Johansson (Vocals), Alexander Ellstrom (Guitars),
Andreas Johnsson (Guitars), Andreas Olsson (Bass), and Martin Svensson (Drums), Trial pay homage to all the greats, such as Iron Maiden, Satan, Mercyful Fate, Diamond Head, Crimson Glory, Cirith Ungol, Omen, Fates Warning, and Sanctuary, all bands that made an impact on the burgeoning '80s metal scene, yet they are clearly injecting their own identity along the way. While "Cold Comes the Night" rages with venomous intent to near speed metal trajectory, the title track and "Juxtaposed" contain a wealth of melody and progressive elements, Johansson soaring over highly textured guitar work, muscular bass, and inventive drumming. "Aligerous Architect" features some sizzling twin lead guitar harmonies that dazzle and weave around leathery lead bass (Olsson is tremendous throughout this entire album) and galloping drums, while the creepy dirge of "Birth" moves into ominous doom laden territory. Johansson's histrionic vocal delivery shoots to the heavens on the lengthy epic "Embodiment", another tune with adventurous arrangements including some fantastic guitar work, and images of early Candlemass pop up on both the melodic headbanger "In Empyrean Labour" as well as the more melancholy "Rebirth". The former even appears to add some Hammond organ to really give the arrangement some extra heft and further unleash those classic tones.
Classic metal heads are going to really fall in love with Motherless, a wonderful homage to an era when it was less about image, gimmicks, or studio trickery and more just about creating honest, hard hitting heavy metal music. Bravo gentleman!
- In Empyrean Labour
- Cold Comes the Night
- Aligerous Architect