ALBUM REVIEW – “No Peace” by Trash Talk

The explosive energy of live hardcore has always been difficult to convey on record, and only the best in the genre can really do so. Though never quite reaching the top of the mountain, Trash Talk have for some time now been one of the big dogs on the more traditional end of the hardcore spectrum, and though their last record (first for hip hop label Odd Future Recordings) didn’t resonate with fans in the same way its two predecessors did, they nonetheless have a lot going for them heading into the release of the very appropriately titled No Peace. The name fits because aside from the mesmeric bass-driven instrumentals that bookend the record, this is a twenty-five minute blast of untempered aggression.

Wrapped up in the grimy, coarse production styling that always benefits this kind of music, the twelve songs that make up the main body of the album all tear in, make their point (typically in less than two minutes) and then give way to the next one. From the weaving menace of ‘Leech’ to the punch-in-the-face assault of ‘Nine Lives’ and the tumbling percussion that dominates ‘Prometheus’, Trash Talk deploy a myriad of techniques all to the same end, the creation of a dissonant symphony of ugly, primitive noise. It’s often startlingly effective – and when something even vaguely melodic does come around, like the centrepiece riff of ‘S.O.S.’, it makes it all the more interesting.

Though the band’s individual performances are by no means top-tier, they come together to make an impressive aural battery. Nonetheless, the Trash Talk sound is often one dimensional, and disappointingly more so on No Peace than it has been previously. When a more groove-oriented approach is introduced on penultimate cut ‘Just a Taste’, it feels exciting but simply too little too late. Lee Spielman’s vocals are strong if unexceptional, and though he delivers some great barbed-wire hooks his performance over the course of the whole album lacks variation. Keeping the album’s runtime under half an hour was a good move, as any longer and the band’s weaknesses may have been made more glaringly obvious.

A lightning strike of violence, No Peace hints at interesting new territory for Trash Talk but never really opens up enough to convince that they really know what to do with it. Confining more experimental moments to its beginning and end may make the rush of hardcore energy in the middle feel more free-flowing, but does make one wonder what could have been had they taken a more whole-hearted leap into experimentation. As the album is, it’s an impressive slice of sludgy, dirge-like hardcore with grit and intensity in spades and a handful of good hooks. While not at the same standard as their finest hour Eyes & Nines, the similarly bellicose No Peace holds up well enough in its own right.

Rating: 7/10

[Michael Bird]

‘The Hole’

Trash Talk

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