Power Trip @ The Velvet Underground, 25 September 2017

Power Trip band photo

Texas five-piece thrashards Power Trip formed during the apex of the thrash revival in 2008. However, unlike the forgettable clone bands that were spawned in this time and have since surpassed their peak, these Americans’ ascent looks tireless. Since releasing their debut album ‘Manifest Decimation‘ in 2013, Power Trip have rapidly ascended from strength to strength, unleashing their debut full-length through the discerning not-typically-thrash label Southern Lord, and appear to tour non-stop.

This headlining show in Toronto is actually an off-date for their North American tour with metal royalty Obituary and Exodus, which unfortunately evades Toronto. Nonetheless, this is Power Trip’s third trip to Canada’s largest city in 12 months and the Velvet Underground is heatedly busy, a sign that this city is certainly not bored of these retro thrashers.

New album ‘Nightmare Logic‘ garnered extremely favourable reviews and the release’s opener ‘Soul Sacrifice’ kicks off tonight’s proceedings, beginning with a foreboding slower introduction before plunging into unbridled ferocity. Power Trip proffer a set engorged with rabid thrash, perfectly tuned for a live show. The audience are insatiable as the likes of new prime cuts ‘Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe)’, the title track and ‘Crucifixion’ are fired out alongside songs from the debut including ‘Conditioned to Death’, ‘Heretic’s Fork’ and ‘Murderer’s Row’. The choices from the sophomore album receive responses just as robust as the ‘Manifest Decimation‘ songs.

Frontman Riley Gales’ shouts are of the throat-shredding hardcore-influenced variety, markedly different from the usual thrash tradition. The guitar work remains varied throughout the set and the solos nod towards ‘Reign in Blood‘ era Slayer. There are ample Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth strains in their musical DNA, along with a trace of crossover. There’s no pretension here, just hearty meat-and-potatoes thrash destruction that delivers everything you’d expect it to.

On stage, the members focus on having a great time, their youthful vigour still unmarred by the excessive touring they undertake. The energy on display is impressive given the high temperatures that have morphed the Velvet Underground into a sweat box. Historically, thrash metal does not shy away from political statements; Gales scores adoration from the punters by announcing that he fully supports the football players taking a knee during the national anthem south of the border.

‘Firing Squad’ sees out the set and the band vacates the stage. The fans wait for an encore and sure enough, Power Trip return, giving fans the choice of which song they should play – ‘Crossbreaker’ or ‘Manifest Decimation’. The former is chosen and the Texans proceed to slay for one more song and conclude the set on a high note. Hopefully they will return to Toronto soon as they amount of support they receive in this city is definitely unwavering and their concerts remain thoroughly entertaining. Definitely a band worth catching live if you’re into thrash and are tired of seeing the veterans of the genre going through the motions.


Band photo credit: Sarah Churchill.