Executioner’s Tax (Swing Of The Axe)

I feels like I’ve been raving on about Power Trip for ages. I regret not seeing them on these shores almost twelve months ago but I’m glad I caught them at Hellfest last year. For me they were the stand out band of the whole weekend and I saw more than forty acts over those three days in France. 

On Tuesday I got to see them again with friend, and after the culmination of their thirty five minute barrage in Birmingham those with me seemed suitably enamoured with the Dallas natives. It’s always nice to be an old dog learning new tricks. In the not too distant future all of these classic bands from way back when will no longer be performing. I don’t think I could completely give us live music so I’d have to find my fix somewhere. 

They’ve been a band since 2008 and have a few EP’s and a pair of albums under their proverbial bullet belts. I picked up on them when I randomly downloaded the Armageddon Blues 7″ online shortly before their debut album was unleashed. I’m aware of the pros and cons of illegal downloading and the like, but before Spotify was in use in this household, it was an easy way to check before you buy. 

I’ve seen quite a lot and listened to even more of the current crop of nostalgic thrash metal throw back bands, but these five guys that make up Power Trip are up there as one of the best, if not THE best of all the new breed. 

They mix in some chunky hardcore and crossover influences, a’la Cro-Mags and S.O.D., into their sound and seem to have been taken under the wing of the hardcore crowd. Ultimately though they are a throw back to the 80’s thrash metal sound. A band like Exodus, and the above mentioned bands, would be proud to have something as brutal and ferocious like the newest album Nightmare Logic in their back catalogue.  

Tonight I’m off to see the band for a second time in three days. As I get pretty sick and tired of having to drive everywhere, even if it’s to the station and back, today I decided to catch the train from the bottom of my street. I have to sacrifice seeing Napalm Death for the umpteenth time, and after Tuesday I’m not too bothered about missing Brujeria either, so I can easily get the last train home rather than a later one and have another twenty minute drive home on top. 

The sold out Rebellion Club in Manchester is much more intimate than the Institute and there’s no barrier front and centre of the stage, so tonight’s set could be something rather memorable.  Even though I’m a stand towards the back kind of guy, Lancashire crowds usually seem more intense than those from the West Midlands. 

Hopefully my fourth experience of the Texans won’t be all that long a wait either. I saw an updated poster for the Suffocation show in Bristol over the August bank holiday weekend and they nievseem to have been added to the show. It was a show I was intending to go to anyway, but now it’s even more enticing. 

Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe) is from this years Nightmare Logic album. 

The Campaign for Musical Destruction Tour 2017 @ Birmingham Institute – 9.5.17

Due to the potentially stellar line up of this package we were on a train down to the Second City earlier than we’d usually be just to ensure we’d be inside in plenty of time to see Lock Up. 

With nearly an hour to kill it was a quick dive into the pub next door waiting for the doors to opens then about two dozen steps to the box office. Fifteen minutes before kick off should’ve sufficed due to the close proximity, even giving a bit of leeway for the small queue we encountered of maybe ten people. We managed to get in about five minutes into Lock Up’s set. Such a painfully slow shuffle into the venue by seemingly incompetent staff. How can it take so long to distribute pre ordered tickets or snatch £24 out of someone’s hand? 

We got the bulk of the Lock Up’s grinding racket and a very good twenty minutes it was. With only a quartet of albums to pick from the seven song blast encompassed something from them all. A brace of tracks from the latest opus and three from Hate Breeds Suffering, before Kevin Sharp removed his trademark cowboy hat for set closer After Life In Purgatory. 

Originally Iron Reagan were on the bill for the tour, but had to pull out early on. When their replacements Power Trip were announced I for one wasn’t disappointed, but I know many who were. 

The quick change around afforded me enough time to check out the merch and return in good time before the Texan thrashers destroyed the Institute. The decent sized crowd for Lock Up looked a bit static from my vantage point, but as soon as Soul Sacrifice kicked in the bodies were flailing. Their thirty five minutes were up in the blink of a eye, but for a thrash band that seem to have been embraced more by the hardcore community they definitely made some new friends tonight. 

Multiple band bills on a school night can be often frowned upon, but if the brief set changes like tonight work like a well oiled machine then that’s not a problem. It also helped that three of the bands used the majority of the same drum kit. 

I was intrigued to finally see “Mexican” deathgrind band Brujeria and they kept my attention for the first twenty minutes or so then their masked Mexican gangster gimmick started to wear a bit thin. The musicians in the band all looked remarkably similar to the three musicians from Lock Up – even both drummers were wearing the same Jeff Hanneman shirt! 

The dual frontmen – the only Mexicans in the band – came on stage clad in plaid and looked like the wrestling stable LAX. The biggest pop during their set was reserved for ¡Viva Presidente Trump! A huge machete made its way onto the stage for the final number and whilst the stage was being dismantled we were treated to an a-cappella version of Marijuana which sounds remarkably like the Macarena. 

From Great Barr, Walsall and Sparkhill local heroes Napalm Death took to the stage to rapturous applause, and there’s the Lock Up bass player who looked remarkably similar to the Brujeria bassist for the third time tonight. 

Tonight was the second time this year I’ve seen the band and the set lists were pretty similar and spanning the majority of the franchise’s career. All the way back to Scum and Enslavement to Obliteration, via Harmony Corruption and Utopia Banished through to Apex Predator. I can’t tell if frontman Barney is just uncomfortable on stage or if it’s just how he is, but it’s always brings a smile to my face when you see him bounding around the stage with his limbs flailing like a child that has had too many E numbers during the day. He has a very unique style. 

Along with the obligatory Dead Kennedys cover we also had short blasts originally from Offenders and Hirax. Apparently the set had to be cut short due to time restraints, if that’s the case I don’t know why it didn’t start a bit earlier. 

Overall a great night of noise, but for me Power Trip stole the show, closely followed by Lock Up. Napalm Death did what Napalm Death have been doing for more than thirty years. And as much as I wanted to enjoy Brujeria, for me, their gimmick over stayed it’s welcome with a forty minute set. 
 

Manifest Decimation

At the airport on the way home from Hellfest we were discussing who was our band of the weekend, as all anal retentive metal geeks seem to do. All the usuals got a mention – Slayer, Testament, Refused, etc. After the briefest of hesitations I blurted out Texan band Power Trip. I’m pretty confident that no one else in my group went to see them, but they missed out on a band for the future. To be honest though it would have been harder to think of a band who’d put in a bad performance during our 45 hours in Clisson.

My Sunday itinerary stared at 11:40am for French thrashers Agressor, followed by Back Track, Turnstile and Power Trip at the Warzone. We weren’t even off the bus by the time Agressor finished. As stated several time already the queue to get in was huge, so we though we’d let it “die down” for half an hour. Unfortunately it didn’t die down and only seemed to increase, so I missed Back Track and more annoyingly Turnstile for a third time. I took a spot in front of the stage about 5 minutes before the opening strains of Manifest Decimation came though the PA.

Their 40 minute set was jaw droppingly superb and so intense. They’re another thrash metal / crossover band that have found a home within the hardcore community. They’ve taken every band that have influenced them and thrown it into a massive melting pot – Slayer, Obituary, Metallica, Leeway, Black Flag, Cro-Mags, Sick Of It All… And they have something for everyone. Songs with riffs and solos, songs with breakdowns. Songs to mosh to, songs to slam to, songs to pogo to. All the bases covered.

They played their debut UK shows at the end of May and I regret not making more of an effort to drive to Leeds to see them, more annoyingly as I was off work that particular week. For their Birmingham show I was double booked with my last minute jaunt to Munich. Hopefully they’ll be back in the very near future and if you like thrash or hardcore then you must go and see them on stage. You will not be disappointed.

Live Arena 2016.21

Only a day or so late with this weeks delve into the diary. I spent Sunday in a damp Munich watching Iron Maiden, Slayer and Anthrax then up ridiculously early for my flight home on Monday morning. So this week…

Tuesday – Leeds, Temple of Boom

I really want to see Power Trip, but I may or may not have transport in the evening as my car should be going into the garage. 
  

Thursday – Wolverhampton, The Giffard Arms

I’m not overly familiar with any of the bands playing, but I have a week off work and it finishes early enough to get the train home. 
  

Saturday

Originally I was going to see AC/DC in London, but as soon as I was offered a refund on my tickets in the wake of the controversial vocalist issue I took it. If only the photo below was still the same I’d be there.  
  

Heading to Leicester for the Uprising event is a possibility, but the main draw for me was Acid Reign, then I found out they’ve only got 30 minutes on stage! 
  

There’s a all day punk do in Manchester happening which could be worth looking into. 
  

One Last Run who I missed last week have a home town Warrington show which could be interesting.  

  

Or the most local gig is in Leek watching Senser who I saw live for the first time 22 years ago. 

  

Sunday 

A drive to Bristol to catch some of Sunday’s festivities at the Temple Festival was on the back burner. Carcass, Grave, Arkangel, Vision of Disorder would have made drive worth it, but yesterday (under a huge black cloud) the whole thing was cancelled. Some bands are trying to organise make up shows to cut their losses, so something late might drop into place.