Trial - Vessel

Trial Vessel cover
High Roller Records
Sweden seems to be pumping up bands at an amazing rate and while I have hardly happened upon a Swedish band that was really bad… (I suppose I can think of a few basic ones and even of a very successful one that has awful vocals, but then again the singer of that band used to be the son of the owner of the label…) few of them seem to really manage to go the extra mile to present us with something really cool.
Trial as a band that has existed as far back as 2007 but didn’t really do much until it got a more permanent and able line-up in 2010. A year later they did release their debut album “The Primordial Temple” and they followed that up with a 7” release called “Malicious Arts” on a different label than their debut. Now for their sophomore album, they have switched labels once again, this time to Germany’s High Roller, which means that they are highly likely to appear in one of “those” closely affiliated German festivals.
The thing is, without being bad, Trial, fail to convey something special. They do sound like a less adventurous Mercyful Fate, without the amazing twin guitar work that characterized the masters and obviously without the piercing falsettos. Their singer, has this clean, high pitched voice, that somewhat reminiscent of John Arch’s but nowhere near as good in timbre and the songs also seem to borrow a page from traditional British metal/NWOBHM for good measure, but tend to be long winded, sometimes sluggish and without any particular hooks.
Somehow, the idea seems to be, that just by the fact alone that some bands perform classic inspired and sounding heavy metal, on that merit alone they should be really recognized as “true” or great. I am sure that some people might just love this… just because it sounds gruff and obscure, but while I have no problems with the way the band sounds exactly (although I could have done with a slightly less treble production with a bit more defined, bottom end) I found the band’s songs to be pretty monotonous with a lot of repetition particularly in the riffs, which are not really anything to write home about either.
And while the album is not too long at just about 50 minutes long, the average song duration of around six minutes, coupled with the formula, shrieking vocals over shrieking guitars, all the time, tires very quickly. They try to add a few melodic parts in the thirteen minute epic album closer “Restless Blood” which succeeds a bit in standing out, but this their style is so predictable and uneventful that, even when solos come around in some songs, they feel very “riffy” in nature and don’t stand out that much.
The band seems to have its sound defined, but they could definitely improve a lot on the songwriting aspect. I find it hard to recommend a band whose album really left me cold, even if there wasn’t something, “obviously wrong” with them...