The 25 Best Metal Albums of 2010 – 2019, #6: Power Trip, Nightmare Logic
MetalSucks recently polled nearly 180 prominent metal musicians and industry insiders to determine The 25 Best Metal Albums of 2010 – 2019! (You can read all about the voters and the methodology behind the poll here.) Over the next few weeks, we’ll be counting down the entire list, one entry per day.
The countdown continues today with Nightmare Logic (Southern Lord Recordings), the 2017 release from Power Trip!
There was something in the air in 2016 — a foul, rancid stench, like a shart induced by severe illness — and Power Trip clearly smelled it. Brexit happened in June of that year, and just a month later, Donald Trump officially became the Republican presidential nominee. And then shit started to get really dark.
By that point, Power Trip were likely working on their crossover thrashterpiece, Nightmare Logic, in earnest. The album’s eventual release, a month after Trump’s inauguration, positioned it perfectly, if tragically, to become the metal protest record of its generation. The band’s unabashedly progressive politics made Nightmare Logic “the album we hoped we wouldn’t need,” as Noisey’s Louise Brown so accurately and depressingly put it. Nightmare Logic is nothing if not a call to arms — sometimes literally, as on “If Not Us Then Who,” an especially awesome song on an album full of ’em:
To get through to you, what have I got to do?
Who’s going to be the difference?
If not us,
Militaristic call-and-response gang shouts, rooted in hardcore, further drive home the general sense of Nightmare Logic as an aural act of guerrilla warfare. Its demand that audiences participate seems to say, “Hey, we’re all in this together… now let’s kick off the revolution and go get those motherfuckers.”
Of course, frontman Riley Gale’s lyrics and vocals, empowering though they may be, wouldn’t have landed so hard if they weren’t couched in great music… and holy shit, does Nightmare Logic ever have that in spades. On cuts like the title track, “Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe)”, and “Ruination,” hornets’ nest guitars (by Blake Ibanez and Nick Stewart), rotund bass (by Chris Whetzel), and walloping drums (by Chris Ulsh) conspire to create sonic heat-seeking missiles doled out in strobe light rhythms. And despite the record’s serious subject matter, the songs all have just enough groove so as to make them, well, fun. Sure, Nightmare Logic is vitriolic and can hit you like a fist full of quarters, but it also just rips, dude (that Arthur Rizk’s production strikes the perfect balance between dirty and warm doesn’t hurt). You can, theoretically, ignore its righteous rage and just enjoy Nightmare Logic as the soundtrack to keg stands and speeding tickets. I don’t know why you’d want to, but you can!
And so, yes, Nightmare Logic is a crowd-pleaser. But it is a crowd-pleaser of undeniable relevance, like the Get Out of metal albums.
The 25 Best Metal Albums of 2010 – 2019:
#25: Cult of Luna & Julie Christmas, Mariner (2016)
#24: Triptykon, Eparistera Daimones (2010)
#23: Pig Destroyer, Book Burner (2012)
#22: Yob, Clearing the Path to Ascend (2014)
#21: The Black Dahlia Murder, Ritual (2011)
#20: Mastodon, Once More ‘Round the Sun (2014)
#19: At the Gates, At War with Reality (2012)
#18: Meshuggah, Koloss (2012)
#17: Gorguts, Colored Sands (2012)
#16: Between the Buried and Me, The Parallax II: Future Sequence (2012)
#15: The Ocean, Pelagial (2013)
#14: Kvelertak, Kvelertak (2010)
#13: Judas Priest, Firepower (2018)
#12: Metallica, Hardwired… to Self-Destruct (2016)
#11: Converge, All We Love We Leave Behind (2012)
#10: The Dillinger Escape Plan, One of Us Is the Killer (2013)
#9: Rivers of Nihil, Where Owls Know My Name (2018)
#8: Deafheaven, Sunbather (2013)
#7: Baroness, Yellow & Green (2012)