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Trouble – ‘One For the Road/Unplugged’ (Reissue)

Hammerheart Records
The Obsessed, Pentagram, Saint Vitus
Release Date
October 1, 2021
Hammerheart Records
Doom Metal

Trouble is one of those bands some people don’t fully appreciate until they are well into their career. Admittedly, that includes me, too. Debuting during a hyper-commercialized era in music and various other factors contributed to their not being a household name. Even so, they were (and are) highly influential on the likes of Electric Wizard and Orange Goblin. With the untimely recent passing of original (and iconic) vocalist Eric Wagner, I can’t help but question the timing of this release. Capitalism at its finest or an opportunity to share timeless treasures with the world? As with most things in life, it is probably a combination of the two. 

The EP, ‘One For The Road,’ was limited to 1500 copies and released on their 1994 tour. In my research, I have found not all Trouble fans are aware of this EP. Surprise! Here is some unexpected awesomeness.  Each song tromps and trounces and moves and grooves with the trademark Trouble sound. Wagner’s voice is in a lower register here and couldn’t be better suited. ‘Road’ is sometimes Bluesy, sometimes biting, and always full of swagger and sinuosity. It doesn’t deviate terribly from other Trouble releases, but that’s not a bad thing, is it?

An acoustic outing will reveal what a band is capable of…and ‘Unplugged’ is a joy and decidedly the better of these two offerings. Gently ringing strings are beautifully interlaced with tasteful solo lines, and the acoustic bass has never sounded better. Wagner’s voice is commanding and achingly sincere. More than a few nods to Jimmy Page and company, plus the occasional Hendrix flourishes are noted, yet the band stays true to itself. This is especially evident towards the end when they dust off the amps a bit. Perhaps Trouble should have been an acoustic band that occasionally plays electric, instead of the current arrangement. The unplugged version is just that good. 

For those just discovering Trouble, this is the perfect launching pad. For the faithful, this will nestle nicely in your Trouble trove. Highly recommended. 

"an album that will nestle nicely in your Trouble trove"

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