by Ryan Meehan
Today’s record review finds us taking a listen to the new EP from My Pal Trigger, a hardcore/metal outfit from right here in the Quad Cities. The band gets their name from the 1946 American western musical film directed by Frank McDonald. While the horse from that film has been dead for forty-seven years, the band itself is very much alive and in full form as I found out by listening to their latest EP. But if it hadn’t been for a chance occurrence, I wouldn’t even know this band existed as I don’t get out very much.
I actually came across this band by accident. Everybody was out in the back patio getting merchandise signed during the Stanhope show and at some point in that mess I realized my cell phone camera was not working. There was a guy in front of me who was there getting a vinyl copy of “From Across The Street” signed, and was cool enough to take my picture with Doug. While we were sitting out front of the venue, we got to talking and I found out he was in a band. He was cool enough to give me a three song disc and I told him I’d check it out.
Although I didn’t get the chance to listen to the disc until the next day, it stayed in my CD player for a majority of the week. It was a pleasant surprise, and here’s what I heard…
EP REVIEW: MY PAL TRIGGER – “THE DAMNED” EP REVIEW
1. “Forecast Stay Indoors” 2:28
The first thing I notice about this song it it’s got a very black-metal style riff to it. Very demonic and evil sounding. The kick drum introduces itself well, and I notice a tinge of math stuff going on here. The breakdown in this song is hard as fuck, and you can really tell that these guys have an excellent grasp on changing the pace at a moment’ notice. Apocalyptic lyrics make it come to life, and overall it’s just a great song.
From what I hear, there is a very fundamental difference between the way that American bands interpret extreme metal styles, particularly black metal. American bands tend to have an underlying groove that accompanies it, where as bands like Satyricon and Dark Funeral go for blinding speed over everything. (Let’s put it this way, if Pantera was from Finland I doubt they’d have that southern influence) My Pal Trigger is a band that has some of those groove-like qualities – Where it’s still metal as hell but you won’t be seeing them performing a dubstep set anytime soon.
2. “How to Train Your Robot” 3:34
On this track the bass runs the mix because of this walking line that is played very clean under some extremely distorted guitar. I can’t help but hear a little bit of Rollins Band influence during the parts of the songs where the bass is doing that walking hook. It’s just very tough sounding, and has more of a hardcore sensibility to it than the other tracks.
This track features a sample from the from the fictional movie “Angels with Filthy Souls” that was made for the original “Home Alone” film, used in the scene where he stops the VCR to scare the pizza delivery guy away. And it works, too…because the line before it is “Take my fucking heart, from my fucking chest” and gives way to “And keep the change you filthy animal”. They did the smart thing here – they just stuck to one sample. Some bands that are coming out these days use too many samples on a record, and it ends up sounding like filler. If everyone used every good sample that was ever created, we’d all be riding around in our cars listening to audio clips of Moe from ”The Simpsons”. They kept it simple here and I dig that.
3. ”Salvation Failed Once More” 4:16
This track is definitely something that these guys could put towards the end of the full-length record, because there is a very completist feel to the whole song. It feels very final, very conclusion-oriented, and ends with the line “This cold embrace” reflecting death and the last step in the process of life. (Unless you count decomposition, which I most certainly won’t hold against you if you do…) The beginning of this track is much slower and ambient than the rest of the EP, but it eventually gets back to the metal that gave it a ride home in the first place. I also like the song title here…very accusatory and still metal at the same time.
The drummer in this band is nothing short of incredible. You can’t play music like this half-assed, and this guy plays like it’s not even an option. The ability to have all of the stop-and-go dynamics while changing time signatures so frequently isn’t something that happens overnight, and I would bet that the drummer has a strong influence in how their music is written. Structurally, it’s impressive as hell.
Overall Rating: 188.8.131.52
This EP is a great introduction to My Pal Trigger and what they are capable of putting together. It’s hard to call this a “demo” (even though it has the exact number of songs that would usually fit this description) due to the fact that the sound quality is extremely high. The production of this disc is of very high quality because it was done at Rob Cimmarusti’s Reel Trax studios in Davenport. As someone who’s done a record there, I can tell you the place is top-notch and engineer Jose Urquiza did a killer job making sure that everything is tight as hell. I am eager to see these guys live soon to see if they can duplicate the sound of this recording. If that is in fact the case, My Pal Trigger should be a force to be reckoned with on the Midwest music scene for years to come. Make sure to check them out this Saturday night October 6th at Racer’s Edge in East Moline.
My Pal Trigger on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/My-Pal-Trigger/135274723160715?fref=ts
My Pal Trigger on Reverb Nation: http://www.reverbnation.com/show/8733227#!/mypaltrigger
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