Trouble - Run to the Light
Metal Blade
Doom Metal
8 songs (37' 39")
Release year: 1987
Metal Blade
Reviewed by Andy

80s doom has a lot of hidden gems, many of which a beginning listener can pass over through their sheer number and obscurity. Maybe you can't try them all (though I, for one, am eager to prove otherwise). But if you have a choice, make sure one of them is Trouble's 1987 masterpiece of traditional doom, Run To The Light. With its deep, fuzzy guitars and heavily dragging riffs, it's got plenty of Black Sabbath influence, but the band also isn't afraid to play fast, hard-edged songs with NWOBHM galloping. Despite the driving speed of their songs, the lyrics are some of the most mournful I've heard in an 80s band, and the combination of speed and deep sorrow is like a ride in a hearse with a jet engine bolted onto the back.

As legend goes, Run To The Light was named after front man Eric Wagner watched the movie Poltergeist. There is heavy religious imagery throughout, including (in Tuesday's Child) a grimly hopeless take on the Bible's I Corinthians 13, but I don't see any way this is actually a Christian album. The album opens with synthesizers and quiet, harmonized guitar solos, and then they kick into high gear with The Misery Shows. Hearing Wagner's fierce, despairing howl for the first time is chilling, mostly because it matches perfectly with the overall sound of Bruce Franklin and Rick Wartell's two-guitar attack, and whether they're going fast or slow, speed or doom, their signature sound is readily apparent through every song. And every turn is a surprise -- just when you think they're thrashing, they slow down to leisurely crush you by changing to straightforward doom.

What I like the most about Trouble, and exemplified in this album, is their speed-metal approach to doom. This doesn't get done too much in the genre because of its conventions, but this isn't a particularly conventional band, and while the speed/doom combo is present in their previous albums, it gets perfected in this one. Some songs are speedier than others; when they're not, they fall into a blues pattern reminiscent of certain early Sabbath songs, but Wagner's voice, which doesn't usually come down from scream territory till the last track, leaves the listener with no illusion that the songs are ever going to stop being straight metal. Peace of Mind's spare main riff, and the swinging beats of Thinking of the Past and Tuesday's Child, are examples of the bluesy side, though still crammed with blasting fuzz-guitar power chords. The solos scream right along with Wagner in a series of intricate, sparkling passages, but never get in the way -- instead, often helping to accent the vocals and provide additional atmosphere to the song. The title track switches from loud and high speed to slow and dreamy, and then back again. The production is a little rough, but better than their previous albums, not enough to get in the listener's way, and with riffs this gargantuan, who cares anyway?

Trouble put out great albums before this one, influencing musicians who were just getting started (Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters paid special tribute to Wagner in 2004), but in Run to the Light, both Trouble's collective sound and Wagner's tremendous voice reached full maturity and put their previous work in the shade. It was a fantastic release for the 80s, a unique and beautiful combination of doom and speed metal. But what makes it a true classic -- and made me write this review without originally planning to do so -- is that listening to Run to the Light is just as timelessly awe-inspiring in 2013 as it was in 1987.

Killing Songs :
All of them
Andy quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Trouble that we have reviewed:
Trouble - The Distortion Field reviewed by Andy and quoted 64 / 100
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