Chicago based band Trouble are back with their ninth studio album “The distortion field”. This album is the first with new vocalist Kyle Thomas (Exhordor, Alabama Thunderpussy) and drummer Mark Lira (Wet Animal). Recorded in Chicago at Warburn studios and produced by the extremely talented Bill Metoyer, this album is proving to be positive force after the departure of original legendary vocalist Eric Wagner and second short termed vocalist Kory Clarke.
From the first notes of the opening track “When the sky comes down” guitarist Rick Wartell and Bruce Franklin’s guitar tone is unmistakably Trouble. When Kyle Thomas begins singing his voice is eerily similar to Eric Wagner’s and that old Trouble formula is back. Spewing out lyrics of war and fear, this opening track is a killer! Kicking straight into “Paranoia Conspiracy” which still holds that Trouble groove with a sort of new school sound.
Jumping down to track four is a bit of a change for the band as this song has a very pop rock feel to it with a big melodic chorus. Kyle’s melody’s and tone on this track are powerful and yet somehow beautiful.
“Have I told you lately” is destined to be a hit! A beautiful acoustic beginning and wonderful vocal’s create a very peaceful and harmonic feeling, almost Zen like. Trouble has mostly been a hard metal band with booming doom sounds but this track is perfectly balanced and wonderfully laid down. Once again Rick and Bruce’s guitars are are perfectly balanced.
Next up is classic Trouble “Hunters of doom”. Just like a punch to the face this song pounds you to the ground with its peaks and valleys of tone and groove. The “Greying chill of autumn is another creepy and eerie song with a middle breakdown part that sounds a little bit like Ghost, and that’s not a bad thing! The rest of the album is rounded off with very solid hard rockin tracks. The very last song “Bleeding Alone” is only 1:18 and is an instrumental but is very creepy and dark, fitting way to end the album.
To the purist they may not appreciate this new brand of Trouble, but to me and all who love this band will accept it with open arms. The guitar work of Bruce and Rick is incredible, The grooving drums of Mark Lira is perfect and the new vocal style of Kyle Thomas seems to fit in without a glitch.
All and all this album is a must have for any Trouble fan and fans of Chicago based bands. With all the heavy doom and death metal groups out there it’s a breath of fresh air to have a Chicago metal band not scream their heads off at us.
Written: by John (Fly) Affinito
I have to admit I was worried about this one. Despite the many line up changes in the band, none of the line ups was committed to vinyl, until now of course. And yes, this is the first Trouble album without Eric Wagner. Trouble in the past was always based around the soaring vocals from Wagner, and intense riffing from Wartell and Franklin, not to forget a great rhythm section to go with that. Well, there are still strong components here that make this album very much a Trouble record. And the man of the hour is definitely Kyle Thomas (of Exhorter, Floodgate fame) who takes over from Wagner.
Thomas is not a newcomer when it comes to Trouble, he had a short stint with the band in the mid 90s. He only joined the band shortly before this album was completed. Kory Clarke of Warrior Soul was the first replacement after Wagner’s departure. While Kory had a fine stage presence, his vocals left a lot to be desired in context of Trouble. Wagner is the definite sound of Trouble, but Thomas does an amazing job here. A job no one thought would be possible to pull off.
Musically, “The Distortion Field,” represents just about any phase Trouble went through. It goes from heavy to psychedelic , you could assign these tracks to different record if you tried, but it all makes sense for them to be here. The band is playing hard and heavy, and none of the rumors of Trouble getting soft are true. This is Trouble! This is Wartell and Franklin show, and both of them were always responsible for the majority of the material. Thomas is here to add the proper color, and he does that at ease.
The purists may argue “The Distortion Field” is not a perfect Trouble record, some may even say it’s not a Trouble record, but this is really good! Don’t let the cheap talk scare you, give it a chance, and you’ll as much surprised as this writer is. “The Distortion Field” is full of great catchy tunes, and a very powerful delivery by all parties involved!
Written By: Mark Kadzielawa
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