When Eyes & Nines dropped four years ago I was a lowly paper boy, wandering around my neighbourhood at six in the morning before school with a trolley full of newspapers and my iPod. I hated how mundane the task was, but music helped keep it interesting, if not bearable. I mention this strange bit of backstory because I first listened to Eyes & Nines during one of those mornings, and I remember Explode kicking in and thinking that I could probably throw that trolley over one of the two-storey houses that I delivered to on a daily basis with ease. At the time I was somewhat new to heavy music, and I hadn’t really heard anything like Trash Talk before, although I’ve heard plenty like them since, and I was immediately hooked. There’s an energy and aggression to the band, which they pour into each of their records and live shows that continues to keep them relevant, if not essential in their scene nine years after their formation. Four years on from that first listen Trash Talk are still my go-to hardcore band, and their fifth record No Peace won’t see that change anytime soon, with the California four-piece continuing to up their game.
I listened to Eyes & Nines again this morning and it still very much leaves me in that ‘Holy shit!’ frame of mind, with No Peace doing the exact same during each of its playthroughs so far. If you’ve listened to Trash Talk at least once then you’ll know what to expect here, and you’ll likely agree that that’s far from a bad thing. The band don’t make any noticeably pioneering moves here or attempt to expand their sound, once again offering up a suitably short slab of savage, bristling energy which is channelled to full effect. At 26 minutes long (32 on the deluxe version) No Peace is the longest body of work that the band have released, but with the majority of songs coming in at under two minutes it sticks with their ethos of writing short, charged and pleasingly in-your-face hardcore punk songs that pack a punch, writhing from start to finish and only relenting for a few seconds at most. Atmospheric opener Amnesiatic is very few of the above, and it’s a slight surprise, beginning No Peace with seventy seconds or so of dark, pulsating ambience courtesy of producer Alchemist. As an opening track perhaps should it seems to be building to something, setting the stage for what follows, and what follows is some of the best music Trash Talk have ever recorded. Jigsaw erupts into life, barraging along, and you can picture it evoking a frantic response within seconds in a live environment as the track swarms and swirls, tearing at anything that dares to stands in its way, raising the roof off and effortlessly casting it aside. From here onwards No Peace is a brute of a record, snarling and snapping as it progresses, delivering hardcore of the highest quality song after song. It’s impossible not to get caught up in as it rages on, with Leech sounding surprisingly anthemic as secondary vocalist Spencer Pollard yells ‘Honestly, I don’t want to be anywhere next to you’ on a track he dominates, whilst Body Stuffer encourages a city-wide riot. No Peace is a record which is very difficult not to enjoy, thriving on anger and calling for you to get on-board and break stuff in the process. Shortest track The Great Escape is a powder keg of riffs and roars, bringing more in fifty seconds than a lot of artists do in fifty minutes before following track Locked In Skin picks up a similar formula but expands on it, churning along on a repetitive guitar riff and bringing in gang vocals of sorts into a chaotic yet controlled mess of abrasive, head-splitting noise. Highlight and lead single Cloudkicker is the records emphatic best, seeing the band toy with a longer song as it comes in at exactly three minutes of heavy hitting dynamite which is infectious as Lee Spielman roars ‘I just wanted to go out with a bang, out with a bang’ as everything explodes around him, evoking an aggressive euphoria that matches its title. In the same way that Explode hit me four years ago Cloudkicker hits just as hard, potentially harder. Trash Talk have rarely sounded so good, and in general No Peace is the sound of a band who are incredibly good at what they do, and it’s safe to say that very few artists (if any) do it better than Trash Talk.
For all of the blood, sweat and more of each poured into No Peace a few of the songs here do slow things down slightly, with Prometheus cruising yet still crushing, dropping off towards the end to chugging drums and vocals. It’s about as subdued as Trash Talk allow themselves to become, and even in their mellower moments they’re always threatening to erupt, as is the case on Just A Taste, which builds and swells after a creeping intro, bordering on repetitive once it does eventually let itself boil over. Something else worth mention is that similarly to on 119 Trash Talk once again enlist the help of a few hip-hop artists, albeit only on the deluxe version of the record with King Krule and Wiki featuring on pitch black bonus track Stackin’ Skins, on which the two rap over a bed of encompassing, oozing black instrumentation from the band. It doesn’t quite compare with 119’s Blossom & Burn but carries a similar vibe, and the final minute with Spielman is one of the records best, ending things on a guttural high if you opt for the deluxe edition – which also features the lyrically claustrophobic Still Waiting For The Sun.
No Peace is pretty damn special, but I expect you already knew that. Trash Talk never really disappoint, having found a winning formula very early on in their career and only tweaking and improving it as the years pass by, and their fifth record could be the best thing they’ve ever released – at least matching Eyes & Nines which is my favourite. No Peace is bludgeoning and polished, offering most of what I love about heavy music in abundance, and I’d go as far as to say that it could well be the finest hardcore record you’ll hear this year given the chance. There’s a reason Trash Talk are as popular as they are, and with No Peace they’re almost untouchable in their field, having released a bludgeoning and brash record which towers and knows it, sounding absolutely triumphant.
Listen to: Cloudkicker / Nine Lives / Stackin Skins