Trial (swe) – “Motherless” (Metal Blade Records)
Formed in 2007, this blinding Swedish heavy metal band have gone from strength to strength and no better exemplified than on this stunning 3rd release. Centered around the powerful, wailing crescendo vocals of Linus Johansson images of early Mercyful Fate and Candlemass immediately spring to mind. However, when you add in the dexterous, fluid guitars of Alexander Ellstrom and Andreas Johnsson, heaving out dark, melancholic doom-esque riffing on the one hand while dazzling with beautiful, spiraling melodies on the other, then US bands like Crimson Glory and early Fates Warning equally come to the senses thanks to this amazing mix. If Costin Chioreanu’s artwork is anything to go by, then you can imagine what the music is like! In no rush whatsoever, Trial (swe) take you through glorious 9 minute epics like ‘Embodiment‘ with plenty of warbling warrior metal tones thanks to those twin flowing guitars adding plenty of bountiful atmosphere and not forgetting Andreas Olsson’s sterling bass runs – the perfect platform for Johansson’s vocals, quietly passionate in places while perfectly poised to switch on his seemingly limitless power. It’s nothing short of a performance in every sense of the word and thanks to the excellent arrangements, the emotional effect on the soul cannot be understated. Equally on the shorter stuff like the title track ‘Motherless’ Trial (swe) hit home through a galloping raw metallic soundscape while Johansson’s stunning voice takes off where the wailing guitars probably can’t go any higher! With Martin Svensson engaging the double bass drums on the raging ‘Cold Comes the Night’ you get the answer if Mercyful Fate had added prog melodies into their darkness – and boy, what a blissful purgatory it makes thanks to the astounding brilliance of this band – definitely not to be missed!