Trouble - Psalm 9 LP

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Trouble’s early work and, in particular, “Psalm 9” represent everything that Doom Metal should be (but so often is not). Think about it, here is a band who are really rather diverse, with regard to tempo, arrangements and mood, and are not afraid to break the mould of what is typically expected of a Doom band. For 1984 this is an incredibly contemporary record; it’s Doom to the bone, but also thrashy and featuring some, for the time, modern Heavy Metal touches. At its heart there’s nothing regressive or throw-backy about this record. Honestly, it makes one laugh when stuff like this is called ‘traditional doom metal’; what is traditional about it? Bands like Trouble and Candlemass weren’t operating in an established tradition, they were forging their own sound.

Too often one hears doom bands who really take the Metal out of Doom. Doom nowadays often seems to be a byword for “play slow, minimise your Metallic leanings”. Of course, “Psalm 9” answers to one’s prayers as it has lead guitar and fast parts in abundance. Contrast is key to its success and every stomping, down-trodden riff is offset by a fast break. Trouble love playing slow, but damn, they’ll rip your face off, too!

That’s really what’s so great about Trouble; they’re never content to stand still, the music is constantly going somewhere. They’re throwing out riffs left, right and centre and still writing cohesive, memorable songs. Eric Wagner’s ‘king of the harpies’ vocals, the Priest-gone-Doom guitar delivery and that staggering rhythm section. You can tell that this is a band who have just been locked-up in a rehearsal room for years, playing to the walls, with minimal contact with the outside world. How else could have Trouble perfected a sound that’s so unique, so tight and so monstrously Heavy? It’s ominous like a stormy sky and really it just does feel like a force of nature.

Still, to this day, we have not heard many records that are as blisteringly heavy as this; like a ghost train hammering down on its way to hell, Trouble are just an unstoppable force on this record. That guitar sound, those thunderous drums, some of the best tracks in all of metal and Eric Wagner giving what is certainly one of the most commanding vocal performances one has ever heard. For 1984 this is only second to “Don’t Break the Oath”, and Trouble have more in common musically with Mercyful Fate than what people these days consiser Doom Metal.