Trial Are These Our Lives?

Just when I'm ready to write off metallic hardcore, along comes another band to renew my faith in the genre with a disc so raw, honest, inspired and full-on brutal, it just can't be ignored. This time it’s Trial's first full-length release. Having taken two years off after the release of their Foundation EP to rethink their strategy and absorb the experiences gained through extensive touring, the five-year-old Seattle-based band strikes back with one of the best politically-charged thrash-core records of the year. Opening with an excerpt from a beautiful ten-minute string quartet composition that closes the record, Are These Our Lives? smashes all preconceptions about what this kind of record should sound like. Sure it has all the requisite searing guitar riffs, howling vocals and whiplash-inducing double kick-drum pyrotechnics, but they are not dished out in the same boring way. The band has taken the time to put their talented musicianship to good use with a mix of dissonant chord structures and unusual beats. And the lyrics... well, let's just say there are no wasted words coming from vocalist Greg Bennick's mouth. Imagine Pantera, Skin Chamber and Pestilence with the metal pretension replaced by political activism and you'll begin to get the idea. (Equal Vision)