Combining the stop-on-a-dime precision of speed metal and grindcore with the minor-key ranting of vintage hardcore, Trash Talk are a machine that runs on bad vibes, and they dish out enough venom to paralyze a medium-size city on their fifth album, 2014's No Peace. From a technical standpoint, No Peace is beyond impressive -- guitarist Garrett Stevenson cranks out an unrelenting volley of crunching downstrokes, with brief interruptions for something resembling solos only adding to the tension rather than releasing it (David Gagliardi is also credited with guitar work on No Peace, but even with a helping hand, the final product is impressive), and the thick, punishing bass of Spencer Pollard and cracking drums of Thomas Pridgen sound as muscular as a team of bouncers at a club where these guys might be playing. As ferocious as Trash Talk sound on No Peace, they're brought down by the fact their songs just don't match up to the profound level of ill feeling the musicians are dishing out; lyrically, these guys have little to say beyond the usual punk/metal anger and frustration about life in a big city, and in "Locked in Skin" they even acknowledge that they seem stuck on insomnia as a metaphor (hard to imagine that this band's dismal outlook could possibly be turned 180-degrees by a dose of Diphenhydramine). Even worse, vocalist Lee Spielman isn't significantly more engrossing on these songs than he is as a lyricist, and if they're something short of masterful, the two doomy, dub-wise instrumental tracks produced by Alchemist end up being among the most interesting stuff here, if only because they take the music in a less rote and more unexpected direction. If you're just looking for some furiously raw background music, Trash Talk will do just fine, but if you're hoping that the songs will hit as hard as the band does, No Peace is a real letdown.
No Peace Review
by Mark Deming