Power Trip

Manifest Decimation

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Screaming out of Dallas in 2008, Power Trip displayed real promise on their two previous EPs. Their innate crossover appeal combines the best element of Cro-Mags, Nuclear Assault, early Slayer, Exodus, and Vio-Lence. Manifest Decimation is their debut full-length, issued by Southern Lord. Produced, engineered, mixed, and mastered by Arthur Rizk (with guitars and vocals done in Austin by Daniel Schmuck), this is one reverb-drenched exercise in aggro excess. Everything is coated in it, and it works. Other than the brief, atmospheric, horror movie keyboard intro in the opening title track, the rest of the album is a 35-minute sprint that destroys everything in sight. The sonic texture that all the reverb adds is welcome: it keeps the mix distinctive. It benefits frontman Riley Gayle's roaring guttural screams, which take pleasure in competing with the buzzing, chugging, mega-riffing guitars and thudding drums. His every utterance is discernible. There are loads of gang vocals on this set, the very trademarks of party hardcore -- but this music never falls into the more clownish, thuggish aspects of that music. There is no masculine posturing. These chanted crowd vocals stand in sharp contrast to the assaulting, screaming guitars and blastbeats, where elements of thrash, death metal, and hardcore coexist simultaneously in an uneasy balance. Examples are the album's first three tracks: the title, "Conditioned to Death," and "Heretic's Fork." There are more straight-up hardcore cuts in the middle of the record -- "Murderer's Row" and "Crossbreaker." To close it out, the crossover sound returns in the band's namesake track and "The Hammer of Doubt," which restore the jagged, razor-wire juggling act. And they make it feel effortless. The end result is that Manifest Decimation reveals Power Trip to be aggressive, ambitious purveyors of an extreme music that while completely intense, is also loaded with manic, sick riffs and fine songwriting.

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