There are few bands that can boast ever having made one of the heaviest albums of all time.Trouble can make that claim not just once, but twice. Those albums being 1984’s Psalm 9 and 1985’s The Skull. Trouble had the market of doom cornered for quite a while. Due in large part to guitarist Rick Wartell’s down tuned riffs and vocalist Eric Wagner’s banshee wails of despair. They paved the way (along with other bands like Saint Vitus and The Obsessed) for many other metal bands to come.
While the Wartell/Wagner partnership continued through subsequent albums like Run To The Light and the self-titled Trouble, it was clear the mission statement began to waver. Gone were the biblical pestilence laden lyrics and instead a more “experimental” sound with songs and lyrics referencing drugs and various other psychedelia - thus crossing the dreaded line from Doom to Stoner rock.
The Distortion Field marks the band’s first release with vocalist Kyle Thomas, formerly of Exhorder. Thomas does a fine job with the material, but does little to elevate the material in the way one suspects Eric Wagner would have. The songs are well-designed, if somewhat lengthy but what’s lacking here is a collective vision. There’s definite cohesion issues with this album that one can’t help but miss the presence of Wagner. Rightly or wrongly, the man knew how to drive the band forward, even if at times it seemed like it was going over a cliff. While The Distortion Field isn’t in danger of tarnishing the band’s legacy, it unfortunately does nothing to necessarily add to it either.