By Sarah Kitteringham
CALGARY – Evoking the feel and energy of classic hesher thrash emerging from the Bay Area at the advent of the ‘80s, Power Trip has surged in notoriety since their second full-length Nightmare Logic (2017) was released. Damn near universally acclaimed, the 32-minute rager merges thrash, death metal, and hardcore, garnering deserved comparisons to Morbid Saint, Cro Mags, and Exodus.
In direct contrast to numerous recent thrash acts who revel in a pizza n’ partying vibe with triggered production, Power Trip is raw, ferocious, and politically charged with deliberate messaging.
“I think we’re pretty clear on the point of the band,” begins vocalist and frontman Riley Gale.
“We’re intolerant of those who are intolerant. That certainly sounds hypocritical, but when it comes to things like racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, etc., these divisions we give ourselves to create ‘us’ versus ‘them’ situations are trivial to us. We don’t have time for people whose ideologies have some form of exclusion involved.”
Gale is responding to our questions over e-mail somewhere in Germany (or maybe France?) thanks to the band’s endless touring schedule.
“Every human life is equal and important, we aren’t getting off this rock any time soon, so we should learn how to take care of it, and take care of each other,” he continues. “Perspective is everything, if everyone were being able to truly empathize – understand viewpoints outside of their own personal experiences, it would change the world for the better almost immediately.”
One such call to action is found in the rollicking “Waiting Around to Die.” Anchored by chugging riffs and gurgling howls, the song is a counterpoint to the defeatist Townes Van Zandt track of the same name. It’s a ‘fuck off’ to laziness and entitlement; a call to arms, to change your life and your world.
“It’s frustrating to watch, what I perceive to be, a large part of humanity giving up on humanity – giving up on ourselves, or trying to make the world better,” elaborates Gale.
“Embracing the downward spiral. Our political situation is a hugely complex thing, so I wouldn’t know where to begin, but I definitely draw from all things current in songwriting. I am always writing about the present, even if the imagery may reference the past, or is my view of a very near future; they’re always anchored in the present.”
Although the band messaging offers a serious critique of our shared sociopolitical universe, Power Trip is enjoying the ride. After all, their huge surge in popularity means sharing the stage with some of the biggest names in metal and travelling the world.
“The most ridiculous moments will remain secret,” offers Gale. “What happens on tour stays on tour. But, I did fire off a large electronic confetti cannon in the streets of London, only for Code Orange to be blamed for the mischief.”
Power Trip perform with Sheer Mag at the Park Theatre on May 21 (Winnipeg), at Louis’ on May 23 (Saskatoon), at the Starlite Room on May 24 (Edmonton), and at Dicken’s on May 25 (Calgary).Dickens, Louis', Park Theatre, Power Trip, Sheer Mag, Starlite Room