Texas thrashers Power Trip have made a huge mark in the metal world in recent years, propelled by their 2017 release Nightmare Logic, a quintessential example of old school thrash but completely modern through its genre bending focus on metal and hardcore punk. As the opening band for the monster line up of Lamb of God and Kreator in the UK in April 2020, we’ve broken down the essential top ten songs list of Power Trip. It’s worth mentioning that this was a very difficult list to put together and if you’re a fan of thrash in any of its forms, go forth and listen to Power Trips entire discography. You won’t regret it.
#10. Divine Apprehension (Opening Fire: 2008-2014, 2018)
Despite making an explosive mark in the thrash circuit in the past 5 years, Power Trip have been an established band for over a decade, with the collection Opening Fire: 2008 – 2014 showcasing old gems that never fully surfaced onto a LP. Still played live to this day, Divine Apprehension is a juggernaut from the beginning, palm muting its way through condoning religion and its frequent corruption and destructive abilities. The breakdown in itself is enough to encourage flailing around and kicking the nearest object, inanimate or otherwise. It’s a fantastic track layered with socially conscious lyrics from frontman Riley Gale such as “Idealism as an illness and it must be erased, When all humanity is at stake”, providing further reason as to why Power Trip are making such a bold impact beyond their tight musicianship.
#9 Crossbreaker (Manifest Decimation, 2013)
Hailing off 2013’s debut album Manifest Decimation, Crossbreaker opens with a heavy old school bassline and a steady drum beat. Power Trip set themselves apart from other bands in the thrash scene through not relying on a constant double bass assault which can quickly become tedious and totally expected. With Crossbreaker as an example, the result is unique, powerful and still heavy as fuck.
#8. Soul Sacrifice (Nightmare Logic, 2017)
Its at this point where I’d like to give an honorary mention to Heretics Fork from Manifest Decimation which very nearly claimed this spot. However, Soul Sacrifice managed to surpass it by the tiniest amount. The opener of Power Trip’s second album Nightmare Logic, Soul Sacrifice begins with ominous rumbling tones intersected with static noise before transitioning into one of their most satisfying riffs to date. Its rhythmic, slow and a headbangers dream. With one final low screech from Riley, the instruments kick off into their full rapid potential into one mass of unapologetic aggression. Let’s just say you’re going to have to look up the lyrics for this one.
#7. Conditioned to Death (Manifest Decimation, 2013)
Returning to Manifest Decimation, Conditioned to Death begins with echoing drum beats that gives a nod to preserving the old school vibe as well as the skill of Power Trips long-time producer Arthur Rizk. There’s a brief trademark slow chugging riff before everything kicks off on a wild course of amphetamines. Soul Sacrifice is practically watered down in comparison as Conditioned to Death offers a multitude of riffs, solos and sheer full on speed before slowing every element down again in a circular fashion to conclude. It’s the perfect blend of varying speeds and hostility
#6. Firing Squad (Nightmare Logic, 2017)
There’s no introduction to gently ease you into Firing Squad, it’s full on machine gun – esque riffs from the get go, showcasing how to perfectly match the subject matter to a full-on sonic assault. In true Power Trip style there’s a breakdown in the middle to keep things varied and interesting, not to mention utterly fantastic in shifting the lyrical melodies to a different realm of deliberate aggression.
#5. Hornet’s Nest (Single, 2019)
Originally released in 2018 as part of Adult Swim’s Single Series, Hornet’s Nest has been conveniently released as a single on this very day of October the 8th. Despite not being attached to an established album, Hornet’s Nest has rapidly become a firm fan favourite whilst being a frequent addition of Power Trip’s live setlist. Arguably one of their most thrashiest songs yet, its still Power Trip to the very core with their insistence on crossing over genres, their hardcore roots particularly prevalent in the middle of the track. It’s relentless and completely rejecting being generic in any sense from the very start.
#4. Manifest Decimation (Manifest Decimation, 2013)
A killer title track and a song that you could easily envision being a part of the 1980s thrash scene, Manifest Decimation is a staple live track for Power Trip. The second solo alone sound like a deep cut from the Ride the Lightning album sessions with a Creeping Death vibe to the rhythm sections. Regardless of subtle comparisons to Metallica, Manifest Decimation is a Power Trip gem through and through, nodding to the godfathers of thrash yet still maintaining their own modern twists and feel with their classic formula of contrasting speeds, melody, guttural screams and well-crafted lyrics:
“Under the boot of great oppression, we slither and crawl.
On the path for annihilation but in the name of god?
Manifest Decimation, we stumble and fall.
Manifest Decimation, to suppress us all.
Under the boot of great oppression, a dark figure conquers us.
Manifest Decimation, when all hope is crushed.”
#3. Nightmare Logic (Nightmare Logic, 2017)
Perfectly paired with Manifest Decimation as a kick ass title track, Nightmare Logic is elevated in its attention to detail (this goes for the album as a whole too) and its sense of foreboding atmosphere with its distant screeching guitars and rhythmic palm muting. The drum beats emphasise the overall pulsating beat with the vocals adding the charm of that low guttural tone that Power Trip fans all know and love. It’s a complete onslaught of thrash at its very best that is worthy of a top three spot.
#2.Waiting around to Die (Nightmare Logic, 2017)
With a warped opening alluding to a ticking clock, Waiting around to Die possesses a fantastic isolated riff that is so damn catchy without losing its quintessential heaviness. The song title could be construed as deceivingly pessimistic yet the lyrics focus on criticising individuals who are wasting their lives away and thus waiting around to die. Waiting around to Die showcases a brilliant chugging pace, hooks and a vocal melody that demands a cathartic release, whether at a Power Trip show or listening to the album in the comfort of your own home. It’s an excellent example of skilled song writing and is guaranteed to conjure up the desire of punching someone in the face.
#1.Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe) (Nightmare Logic, 2017)
If you’re a Power Trip fan already than this choice for the top spot comes as no surprise. Executioner’s Tax is Power Trip’s hit, inciting individuals to lose their collective shit whenever the very first riff is detectable at live shows. And no wonder – its an example of Power Trip at the very top of their game with tight musicianship and excellently crafted song writing that’s layered with morbid yet humorous lyrics. “Even a killer has to get paid” will go down as a personal favourite line for its simplicity coupled with a sharp wit that’s difficult to perfect and execute (pun intended). Executioners Tax and Nightmare Logic as a whole are fully responsible for propelling Power Trip up the ranks and its no surprise that they’ve secured a spot touring with metal giants Kreator and Lamb of God.
So, at the very least, go listen to Executioners Tax – It’ll reinstall your faith in the modern thrash scene.
You can find tickets for Power Trip’s tour with Lamb of God and Kreator here.