Believe it or not, good thrash metal does still exist. Yes, the popular scene is dominated by plodders such as Evile and Gama Bomb, but every once in a while a record arrives that conjures up the true spirit of the Bay Area. Manifest Decimation certainly stakes a claim for being one.
Although often considered to be more in the vein of 'crossover' acts like Cro-Mags and Suicidal Tendencies, Power Trip prove themselves pretty damn good scholars of the Slayer school of monster riffs here. Every one of the eight tracks on Manifest Decimation reaches the very apex of what quality thrash is all about. It’s the sort of album that circle pits were invented for, but it also has that (comparative) sophistication that has always set good thrash apart from the rest.
Such a statement doesn’t just refer to the musicianship, although Power Trip are clearly no slouches in that department. Manifest Decimation is set to go off like dynamite live circuit, but there’s also enough about this album to make it worthy of plenty of listens at home. At times the extra hardcore-influenced intensity brings to mind Converge rather than Exodus, or even the punkest of crossover acts such as Agnostic Front. 'Power Trip', the Dallas band’s self-titled call to arms is a seething kick in the teeth, reminding listeners everywhere that fast music can still occasionally have the heaviness chops to send the low-end rumbles of sludge back to the swamp.
The greatest success story of this album, however, is the more dynamic closer, ‘The Hammer of Doubt’. A patient opening, replete with a spoken word sample, explodes into something genuinely epic, but without the need for Master of Puppets-esque acoustic breakdowns. This is a song that sounds enormous by virtue of the sheer power of its performance and nothing else. Riley Gale’s beastly vocals reach their domineering peak, and the guitars sound like they’re set to burst through your speakers and gleefully decimate what’s left of your auditory functions.
There’s little higher praise that can be given to Manifest Decimation than to say that, in terms of the songs rather than the production, this album sounds like it could be a great lost set of pioneering Eighties thrash rediscovered. Such is its consistent quality and, perhaps more crucially, its overbearing confidence. The watered down thrash of recent years has predominantly sounded feebly preoccupied with trying to emulate the sounds of yesteryear. Power Trip don’t give a fuck about that. They know how good they are and are fully aware that the way to live and breathe this style of music in the first place was to sweat it from every pore rather than tentatively bathe in it from time to time.
Whilst there will undoubtedly be naysayers out there looking to deride Power Trip for even trying to resurrect a style that had seemingly been condemned to remaining boneheaded beer music for the rest of eternity, the truth is that Manifest Decimation is actually very, very good. Don’t put your money on a proper thrash comeback, but do blast this out of your stereo and destroy your living room in the process. It’s definitely worth it.
8Benjamin Bland's Score