01 September 2020

A Tribute to Riley Gale

Image by Damian John

 

When it was reported last week that Power Trip frontman Riley Gale had passed away, a great sense of loss echoed throughout the rock and metal community. With the outpouring of love from bands, fans and journalists it only felt right that MMH should add our voice to the chorus of praise. Below we have collected the thoughts and memories of Power Trip- and Riley specifically- of several of our writers. Our thoughts go out to Riley’s family, band mates and fans.

When Nightmare Logic landed in 2017, I instantly knew something was happening. Everyone whose opinion I value in relation to heavy music was suddenly talking about Power Trip. For good reason, Nightmare Logic was undeniably one of the best albums of that year, and, while I could easily bang on for hours about the individual performances of each member of the band, Riley’s performance was the star of the show. He added what thrash can so often in an era where hardcore has developed further and extreme metal has gotten heavier and heaver- toughness and aggression. The heavy dose of hardcore the whole band used certainly helped but his delivery was the focal point for that. The way he could bend his belligerent bark into world class hooks also elevated Power Trip above many of their contemporaries. Riley was a huge part of what made a band that owed so much to the past feel fresh and cutting edge, but in the live environment is where he shone even brighter.

I only had the pleasure of seeing Power Trip once. It was on Trivium’s tour for The Sin and the Sentence. I caught the tour in London, and while every band playing was touring an album that could be considered world class, I was mostly looking forward to seeing openers Venom Prison. After their deathly racket had finished assaulting the punters in Brixton Academy, I was even more impressed than I thought I’d be. I was certain that I’d already watched the best and of the evening. Then Power Trip hit the stage. I knew they’d be good, but this must have been like seeing Alice In Chains on the Clash of the Titans tour. Sure everyone else playing was world class but this band were hungry and ready to claim the throne. The show was stopped several times for injuries but it never felt like the momentum dropped. Not a single person in the crowd could resist moving in someway, and the focal point of all this energy was Riley. A whirling dervish of energy that it was impossible to tear your eyes away from, it was his undeniable charisma that made Power Trip THE talking point of the evening. Any band could have come on afterwards and felt slightly disappointing. It was truly a show for the history books.

 

I remember the first time seeing Power Trip, third down the bill supporting the mighty Trivium. After listening to their record ‘Nightmare Logic’ on repeat for weeks, I was unimaginably excited to finally see them live and as the atmosphere gave away, so were the other fans who filled out the Manchester Academy. Despite the bill being full of incredible bands, Power Trip stole the show, with their raw energy and visceral intensity all spearheaded by frontman Riley Gale.

 

My next encounter with Power Trip would be my most memorable, it was at Bloodstock Festival 2018 and they played around midday to once again a packed field filled with eagerly awaiting fans. From the moment they kicked off the crowd erupted into mosh pits and all manner of chaos. It took a few minutes after they had finished for their monumental performance to settle in and for the first time ever, I was prompted to go and visit the signing tent. I queued for about an hour not fussed if I was missing another band – I wanted to meet Power Trip. I finally reached the tent, they each signed my festival program and I shared a brief complement with each member about their performance and music. When I reached Riley, we shook hands and talked for a few moments about how I discovered their band and wished them the best of success in future endeavours. Riley thanked me and told me how much he appreciated all the support, he was a humble and respectful guy whom I would have loved to have chatted all day with. It was a surreal moment and one I will now treasure forever.

 

My final experience with Power Trip was at Download Festival in 2019 where they were already playing the main stage for such an early stage in their musical career. This was easily the biggest crowd for Power Trip in the UK so far and as usual they did not disappoint. From then on, I have been eagerly awaiting their next move and was due to catch them with Kreator and Lamb of God earlier this year (it has now been moved to Dec 2021) and I’m sure they would have given even those two names a run for their money. Rest in power Riley Gale, you will be sorely missed.

 

 

I first heard Power Trip in my first year at Birmingham Uni and I was hooked. Nightmare Logic quickly became one of the best albums I’d ever heard and the soundtrack to me moodily stomping around campus between lectures. I remember frantically headbanging to my song request of Soul Sacrifice in the Hammer and Anvil and telling anyone who had the slightest spec of interest that they needed to listen to Power Trip immediately.

I was then completely determined to see Power Trip live as soon as possible.  I unfortunately missed their iconic set at Bloodstock 2018 but was able to finally see them on the main stage at Download 2019. And boy did they absolutely crush it. It was one of the best live sets I’d seen and I absolutely loved every second. To hear that iconic screech of “SWING OF THE WOW” during Executioner’s Tax was just beyond cool. Riley commanded the stage with such a strong and energetic presence, a true powerhouse of a frontman with his guttural screams and leaps across the stage. He had the audience in the palm of his hand, even those who had never heard of Power Trip before.

To see someone so powerful, so impassioned by their craft, makes it the more heart-breaking and unbelievable when they pass. I never managed to meet Riley but from the countless stories I’ve heard he was a genuine down to earth guy who cared massively about his fans and those around him. He had such a strong intelligence which weaved into his lyrical content, most notably his perspectives on social and political matters. Those hostile vocals coupled with those conscious lyrics really consolidated Power Trip as one of my favourite bands.

Tragedies like this really puts our existence into perspective. No one knows when our time is up, there’s no warnings or set dates. Life is easily taken for granted yet it’s important to refocus our attention on the time we have and the loved ones we can share it with.

Rest in Power Riley Gale. You were taken way too soon.

 

For more about Power Trip, have a look at our Top 10 Power Trip songs.

Rest in Power Riley Gale.