From their Chicago inception back in 1979, fuzzedellic doom rock pioneers Trouble have had a unique sound that is all their own. Drawing heavily on vintage Black Sabbath for their sound, they took that basis and expanded on it to form a sound that is yet to be copied or duplicated by any other band.
When you hear a Trouble song you know who it is.
It’s a sound that is so singular in nature that it saw many bands of the day such as Metallica and Slayer sneaking backstage to get a look at their equipment- just to try to figure out how they got such a groovy, fuzzy tone.
While they weren’t the heaviest band in the 80’s metal scene, they garnered massive respect from their then-peers, and bands like Metallica, Anthrax, and Voivod were all too happy to take them out on the road.
The Distortion Field is their first album since the 2007 monster comeback Simple Mind Condition and their eighth release overall. The Distortion Field is an album that took three years to make and that was plagued with technical difficulties during the recording process- including losing all the drum tracks and a parting of ways with original singer Eric Wagner.
This is a change that some diehard fans will have a problem getting past. You see, part of what gave Trouble their sound was the one-in-a-million style voice of Eric Wagner.
Stepping in to fill that massive void is former Exhorder vocalist Kyle Thomas. Thomas’s voice is beefier and has more low-end than Wagner’s and it’s a great fit for the band, who themselves, are growing and expanding on that epic Trouble sound.
The band also features Shane Pasqualla on bass and Mark Lira on drums. Rounding out the lineup are founding members and guitarists Rick Wartell and Bruce Franklin, who were and still are the chief songwriters for the band and the reason it maintains that classic Trouble sound.
The resulting album, The Distortion Field, finds the band rejuvenated and hungrier than ever. From the opening riff of “When The Sky Comes Down” it’s is clear that the classic Trouble sound is alive and well.
“Paranoid Conspiracy” and “The Broken Have Spoken” would be right at home on the self titled Trouble album and features those beautiful harmonic guitars you have come to love and expect from the band. “Sink or Swim” is an up-tempo rocker with a doom edge and a killer melodic chorus while “One Life” has a slow groove that sounds like it was lifted right off Psalm 9.
“Have I Told You” is the closest thing to a ballad that this band has ever done and reeks of Alice In Chains while “Hunters of Doom” has a very catchy heavy riff, that would have fit in nicely on the Green Plastic Head disc.
“Glass Of Lies” has a slow sludgy riff that harkens back to the Skull album; The “Butterflies” features a classic Trouble riff that transitions into a King’s X-style chorus. “Sucker” and “The Greying Chill of Autumn” see the band exploring new musical territory and still maintaining that classic sound.
The album closes as strongly as it began with “Your Reflection”and just might become a fan favorite from the disc.
Bottom line is this- this band has been in the business for over 30 years now and has a very illustrious and respected catalog. If you like classic Black Sabbath or any of the current stoner metal bands, then this band is a must as they almost single-handedly created the stoner genre.
If you’re a long-time fan and don’t think you can get past the loss of Eric Wagner, take my advice- “Get over it and yourself.”
Give this an honest listen. If you ever liked Trouble before you will like this too and if you are just checking them out for the first time, you won’t be sorry.
Rating: 8 out of 10.