Trouble - <em> Psalm 9</em> CD/DVD Review ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Trouble - Psalm 9 CD/DVD Review

Escapi Music has just reissued the first two CDs by Chicago doom-metalers Trouble. The first CD, Psalm 9, along with releases by St. Vitus, Pentagram and Witchfinder General helped define the doom metal sounds (which has been copied by many bands that followed).

Psalm 9 was released in 1984 and caused quite a stir in the underground scene. The LP was on white vinyl, limited to 2000 and dearly beloved by those who happened to pick one up. Psalm 9 had heavy religious/christian-themed lyrics so the band was marketed by Metal Blade as a "white metal" band. This was a tag the band strongly resisted. Trouble - Doom Metal ChicagoThere was also quite a controversy at the time over whether a "Christian" band would include the word "f*ck" in one of their songs (The Bastards Will Pay). In a recent interview, Eric Wagner reflects back on this release and its Christian labeling.

"I was brought up Catholic...but you have to remember , back in the early '80s, all the metal was kind of Satanic, and I didn't get into that vibe. So, as far as writing lyrics, I wasn't trying to save anybody, but just explore my life."

Hands-down, this is a great CD! Trouble is often referenced as being Black Sabbath accolytes but their music goes beyond the basic Sabbath sound. While Trouble's music utilizes similar plodding tempos and heavy bass, the music also differes in many ways. Trouble utilizes two lead guitarists (similar to what the NWOBHM bands did at the time) and frequently change both tempos and speeds. There are also elements of both speed and trash metal in a number of songs.

There isn't a bad song on this disc but particular standouts are Assasin, Victim of the Insane, and Bastards Will Pay. There are many reasons to pick up a copy of this CD (it is an excellent blueprint for bands starting out, the CD has been out of print for years, Trouble has reunited and will be touring again in 2007) but I think the strongest reason is the inclusion of a bonus DVD of the band performing live on cable access television. The DVD lists this performance as 1982 but I believe it to be closer to 1984 as the band mentions that their first LP is already out and that they have started writing songs for their second. It is amazing to be able to see the band as they were performing live over 20 years ago. It is also kind of fun to watch a very young Eric Wagner play air guitar along side of Bruce Franklin. The DVD is 20 minutes and contains three live songs along with an interview. Songs performed are Assassin, Psalm 9 and Victim Of The Insane.

Trouble's first release since 1995, Simple Mind Condition, is scheduled to be released by Escapi Music on February 20th, 2007.