Trouble

Psalm 9

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A huge throwback to the '70s in every sense (looks, sound, etc.), Chicago's Trouble had little hope of fitting into the various mid-'80s heavy metal scenes. Instead the band were busy updating the genre's prehistoric doom teachings for the new decade, beginning with their eponymous debut, later re-baptized Psalm 9. First track, "The Tempter," immediately set the revisionist tone: opening with a plodding, monolithic riff which only grudgingly allowed the song to break into its chugging gallop, while clearly setting Trouble apart from their heroes in Black Sabbath with its pro-God lyrics. Except for this basic but crucial difference of perspective, issues of Heaven and Hell still pervaded much of the album, and ranged from obvious near-sermonizing like "Revelation (Life or Death)" and "Fall of Lucifer," to rather more discreet material such as "Assassin" and "Bastards Will Pay." And even though there were consistently strong combination of elegant melodies and thunderous riffs throughout, some of Psalm 9's biggest surprises were saved for last, as the instrumental "Endtime" prefaced a straight-up reading of the Bible passage that lends the album its name, and, finally, a faithful cover of Cream's "Tales of Brave Ulysses." Don't let all of these understandable English influences confuse you though, for Psalm 9 was undoubtedly one of the opening salvos of a truly American-bred doom style. [The CD was also released with a bonus DVD featuring live footage and band interviews.]

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