Music Review: Trials ‘This Ruined World’
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This Ruined World
Release date: July 24, 2015

People are always asking me about the state of heavy metal. “Where is the next Sabbath? Priest? Maiden? Metallica?,” they question. Well, I’m sad to say that, while there are innumerable great metal bands in the world, I’ve not seen a band with that sort of potential for a mass, mainstream breakthrough since Pantera in the 90s or maybe Killswitch Engage in the early 2000s. That is, until I recently found an advanced copy of Trials’ new album This Ruined World in my Dropbox about a month ago.

Now folks, I’ve got to tell you that I am utterly ashamed that this Chicago-based band has eluded my radar since its inception in 2008. They are a wellspring of the sort of top-shelf metal that comes along once in a generation. Imagine if you put Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath, Defenders of the Faith, Number of the Beast, The Sound of Perseverance, Ride The Lightning , Vulgar Display of Power, and The Blackening all into a blender. Well, Trials is that… on steroids!

So taken with this band was I, that I began devouring their back catalog and have listened to little else since. Turns out that their second album, 2013’s In the Shadow of Swords, is arguably the best metal album since the turn of the millennium! I say arguably because it now has very stiff competition from its successor.

This Ruined World wastes no time getting down to business with the battering thrash of the album opener and lead single “Truth Defiled.” Give it a listen here below. One of the many things that sets Trials head and shoulders above the competition is the absolutely mind-bending guitar work which is both inventive and on the verge of being completely melodically unhinged. The influence of both Death and Dimebag Darrell looms large in this respect. It’s actually a bit surprising to me that “Truth Defiled” was chosen as the lead single, not because it’s not a great track but because the four songs that immediately follow it grow exponentially more anthemic and memorable. In a modern metal landscape where every band tries to one up the last with more technical musicianship or raw brutality, Trials knows that without great songs all the rest is for naught.

“Don’t Believe the Word” is a little slice of blackened nirvana with its anti-religion tirade (a theme that runs throughout Trials’ body of work). Singer/guitarist Mark Sugar is one of those rare talents who can go from out and out gutterals to an almost black metal snarl and then turn around and clean sing strongly enough to rival metal’s greatest legends. He gives all of these attributes of his voice a solid workout through the blistering tracks “Digging My Own Grave” and “Disgraced and Erased.” The album hits its high water mark with a track that ranks amongst the absolute great metal tracks of all time with “Blink of an Eye”; it’s the sort of song that writers in this genre have wet dreams about writing. If you listen to no other track from this record, you MUST hear this song. I would have posted it below, but unfortunately no one has uploaded it to YouTube yet.

The album rounds out with four more brilliant songs that, while not quite as strong as the first half of the record would still be stand-out tracks on most other band’s albums. “Beat the System to Death” could just as well be called “Beat the Listener to Death.” It’s the most brutal, thrashy, melodic death metal song on the album. “They Hide Behind the Law” continues the onslaught with a pissed off fervor. “Inheritance” brings things back down to mere mortal pace with its haunting neo-classical guitar intro before shifting affairs back into high gear. The title track, “This Ruined World,” closes things out with an epic, mid-tempo thrashing that transitions to a runaway train for the final minute and a half. When I played this album for my old-school metal friend who hates nearly everything about modern metal, his response was “Holy shit! How are these guys not the biggest band in the world?” I agree with him 100% and I’m now on a mission to make sure that that comes to pass.

In conclusion, This Ruined World is as perfect an album as we are likely to see this year unless Iron Maiden’s upcoming album, The Book of Souls, turns out to be their best in nearly 30 years. Go buy this album now so that you can someday say that you knew about Trials before they became the biggest band on the planet.

Rating: 10 out of 10

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