Monday, September 23, 2013

TRC Shakes Its Fist At The New Nation

For the better part of a decade, TRC has earned its place as an embodiment of London hardcore with a sound they pounded out of of metal, hardcore punk, hip hop, and grime. They have always been the kind of band that trades in descriptions like catchy for crushing and progressive for pummeling.

Their new album, Nation, is no exception. If anything, it carries another layer of intensity and creates what most will find to be their heaviest and hardest album to date. They also put considerable work into their songwriting this time out, making Chris Robson even more compelling as a narrator who means it.

Nation by TRC is relentless heavy hardcore. 

The lone anti-ballad is Weekend Walls, with Robson taking time out to share something personal about his life. Among all of his friends and bandmates, he's the last to find someone. And since it hasn't happened yet, even he has to wonder.

Still, don't expect him to show any softness as a singer. While the instruments make the track feel melodic, Robson rolls out lyrics with his typical signature punch. It seems pretty clear that even when he does feel anything, he feels it by swinging wildly.

The only place he swings more wildly is on the album's battle cry track. We Bring War is nothing more than a big stage nose stub at any bands who call themselves hardcore. It was the last to be written after being inspired by a single riff and it was the first to be released as a lead-in to the album.

The song almost makes the band seem smug, until you work your way down the playlist. TRC isn't all fight. Or, perhaps more exactly, TRC thinks a bit before picking a fight. The result is a song like 10,000 Hours, inspired by the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.

The 10,000-hours rule is a critical component to success, according to Gladwell. TRC wants its listeners to tap into that thinking — make a decision and push it until it becomes real. It doesn't even matter when or where you start.

Between Bridges, for example, is a song about waking up at the crossroads of your life. You wake up one day and realize that what you have been doing for the last 20 years doesn't mean anything. So what do you do? Take a risk or stick to the same job.

The most obvious progression is heavier music and headier lyrics. 

If that sounds too heady for a hardcore band, don't fret. The album opens fast and heavy with 3 Letters 4 Seasons and steps it up with the darkly inspired Motivator, and the two-step driven beat behind EX Games. And then there is Gold Medal Music, which was written during the recording of Bright Lights but didn't make the album. It's one of the hardest introductions the band ever wrote.

Closing it out is the title track Nation, which was written to thank anyone who has ever helped the band. Say what you will about Robson, Anthony Carroll (vocals), Charlie Wilson (guitar), Ben Taylor Dingwall (guitar), Oliver Reece (bass), and Lasselle Lewis (drums), but they know where they came from and who helped them get someplace else. To hear them tell it, it took passion and love.

All in all, Nation proves that TRC isn't slowing down after their nomination as Best UK Band at the 2012 Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards. They seem empowered to push even harder with a little extra help from Steve Sears (Gallows, Lethal Bizzie) in London. And it doesn't hurt that the band believes this is absolutely the right time for U.K. music (which is why they wrote Team U.K.).

Nation By TRC Takes On 9.1 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

While it's true that not everyone is in love with hardcore, TRC stands a better chance to change someone's mind about it. There is something refreshing about a band that isn't afraid to feel pride about their country too. Robson himself has said he wants his music to remind people that they have every right to feel proud about being British.

Nation by TRC is available on Amazon. You can also find the CD at Barnes & Noble or download it from iTunes. The only thing better than listening to the album is turning out for one of their dangerous live shows. Currently, they are planning to tour the United Kingdom in October and November after their album release party on Sept. 26 in London. Stay tuned.
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