Album Review: Trial – Motherless

By Ryan Falla

Power metal band Trial explodes out of Sweden with their third record ‘Motherless’ after finding a home at Metal Blade Records. The journey to metal stardom has not been an easy road for Trial. Forming in 2007, Trial came together in tentative form as they struggled to find strong footing before Linus Johanssan come into the fold in 2009 to bring unity and a voice to the band. After putting together a strong discography to start their career, Trial were snatched up by Metal Blade in preparation for their career defining record ‘Motherless’.

‘Motherless’ shows us the fruits of Trial’s struggles to get their musical career off the ground. After a decade of developing a great body of work, Trial takes the opportunity to finally display what has given them such strength and fortitude in their journey to sharing their musical visions of the world. I can’t say for sure whether the quality of ‘Motherless’ was borne out of the decade long fight to continually improve the scope and vision of their music, or whether their music was inherently strong enough from the get-go to push them through wall after wall.

Regardless, we know one is only as strong as the ferocity of the battles they fight, and Trial shows us the rewards that come from faith and determination; you can actually hear the determination swelled up inside Trial throughout the album. Tracks like ‘Aligerous Architect’ put the power in the term “power metal”. It’s not that the music is simply heavy, Trial strikes as a swarm of Valkyrie warriors razing grand kingdoms of the skies. ‘Motherless’ does not inspire aggression as many metal bands tend to, and this isn’t mosh pit-esque fury as much as it is a swelling call to arms rising within one’s soul. As one would be compelled to righteously stand up against forces that threaten their sovereignty, so too does ‘Motherless’ compel your soul with emotions of righteous wars being fought on the horizon.

If the standard metal album is dirty and brutal chemical warfare and hand to hand ripping and tearing combat, then ‘Motherless’ is the glorious and righteous battle within the realms of Valhalla. On this album, the vocal work by Linus Johanssan takes a few pages from the playbooks of power metal from times long past, and he takes the music to explosive heights with his piercing vocals that constantly shatter the sky and leave the pieces raining down as meteors of war. The foreboding clouds of war roll in straight from the opening title track ‘Motherless’, as Trial serenade you with discomforting grace that follows an even darker path into the track ‘In Empyrean Labor’, before ‘Cold Comes the Night’ thrusts you into full-on power metal fury.

One thing you’re going to notice right off the bat are the vocals because Linus has the tendancy to pull his voice into Bruce Dickinson sonic realms; once he pops off the pipes the tone and frequency of his voice vibe in and out of this sonic realm with an eerie ability. He is not mimicking Bruce in the least bit, let me get that straight, it’s the natural tones within his voice that happen to flow into this sonic realm while maintaining its own strong defining tonal range. Linus Johanssan carries an amalgamation of the best elements of power metal within his voice that is bound to hold your interest with great fascination.

As the vocal work is led by an extremely talented musician, so too is the strength of the talent leading the music. Trial’s ability to create an overbearing and undeniable atmosphere stands strong throughout the record, yet tracks like ‘Birth’ showcase the complete ability of the band. Trial does a fantastic job of keeping the music as one entity without creating obvious division between either the level of skill or involvement of all participating musicians. Yes, the vocal work does catapult the band to extreme heights, but this is only another mark of a fantastic band; a band whose skill continually raises each member to phenomenal heights. ‘Birth’ is led by the rhythm section, the drum and bass work open the song with the music embodiment of primal darkness before the guitars peek their heads only to reveal demonic eyes looking back at you; the ritualistic group vocals instill a shockingly real sense of foreboding doubt in the face of darkness. ‘Birth’ is only part of the three-track finale in Birth/Embodiment/Rebirth; an incredible showing of not only the otherworldly talent of Trial, but also the beyond masterful songwriting skills of this band.

This is not a band you want to turn your attention away from. Trial is devastatingly dynamic in everything they do, from the composition of the music to the execution of their musical duties. The structure of this record is beautiful, from the intensity of the buildup throughout the first half of the record before it climaxes with the three-part finale. As a listener, just try not to climax before the record hits its the critical peak.

Rating: 9.5/10

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Record Label: Metal Blade
Release Date: April 7th 2017

Track Listing:
1. Motherless (4:59)
2. In Empyrean Labour (4:34)
3. Cold Comes the Night (4:31)
4. Juxtaposed (4:25)
5. Aligerous Architect (6:15)
6. Birth (6:12)
7. Embodiment (9:10)
8. Rebirth (7:35)

Total Duration: 47:41

Trial links: facebook | instagram