Power Trip is a Texan band that have made waves in their 12-year existence. Over two albums, a compilation, and a handful of EPs, they have become one of the most highly regarded, quality acts from the exuberant wave of modern thrash metal. 2013’s Manifest Decimation blew everyone away with its fresh take on classic thrash, and Nightmare Logic, from 2017, took that blueprint and totally had fun with it. The fan-base, naturally, are eagerly awaiting the next album release and to see exactly where they will possibly go next, the hopes high and promising.
A live album is always a good way to keep the fans satisfied whilst waiting for a new record, but quite often they lack the precision and magic of the recorded songs. With Live In Seattle 05.28.18, the band does more than fill the time between releases – this record shows how tight they are as a group and also captures the intensity of one of their live shows.
This crowd from a 2018 show in Seattle is felt more than heard, as the recording wisely ups the sound of the band and leaves the audience noise for between-song banter. After the intro to their classic “Drown” and vocalist Riley Gale’s battle cry to the punters, we’re spun headlong into “Divine Apprehension,” one of their earliest and most potent songs. This sets the tone for the rest of the show with its fast pace, brutal riffage, screaming leads and, as Gale points out more than once, the pit is clearly up and running throughout, and claiming victims left and right.
The tracklisting is a healthy mix from their history and has all the big hitters, but the highlights are “Soul Sacrifice,” “Executioner’s Tax (Swing Of The Axe)” (the two opening tracks from Nightmare Logic), and the title track from Manifest Decimation. All three are instantly recognizable with their catchy main riffs, violent percussion, and fist-banging choruses. A live thrash record should always focus on the rabid reaction from the audience and how the band feeds off that, and the raw, direct production on Live In Seattle 05.28.18 allows the listener to feel as if they are right there in the crowd, so much so that one can almost smell the sweat and pyro smoke.
The guys are super-tight without sounding over-rehearsed, their interaction flexible and hitting every climax with intent. Blake Ibanez and Nick Stewart trade rhythms and solos as if they were one person split in two, and they are notorious as a tough act to beat in the New Wave Of Thrash Metal. Chris Whetzel’s bass is a tight lock-in with Chris Ulsh on drums, the rhythm section ablaze and tight-but-loose (to coin the Zeppelin term). Gale is a defiant frontman, and his few words to the crowd get them pumped and laughing just at the right times. His vocals are some of the best in the genre at the moment – he has all the grit and grime of classic thrash singers, but he adds in a shitload of energy and aggression that are all his own (unlike some others that merely ape what came before).
This is Power Trip live, in all its ugly glory and beautiful fury. It does exactly as advertised, nothing more, nothing less. It’s not on the same “ohmygod” level as classic metal live albums like Live After Death or Unleashed In The East, but modern bands very rarely reach these heights, and this is balls-to-the-wall thrash metal, ferchrissakes. It hits hard with all the best Power Trip songs, it shows the group at their best, and it’s a really fun listen from beginning to end. What more could you ask for, really?
Live In Seattle 05.28.18 Track Listing:
1. Drown (Intro)
2. Divine Apprehension
3. Suffer No Fool
4. Soul Sacrifice
5. Executioner’s Tax (Swing Of The Axe)
7. Heretics Fork
8. Conditioned To Death
9. Firing Squad
10. Manifest Decimation
Run Time: 42 minutes
Release Date: June 11, 2020
Record Label: Dark Operative