Back in the day Newport, Rhode Island hardcore quartet Verbal Assault and their 1987 album “Trial” landed perfectly in my wheelhouse. Combining the aggression of Cro-mags, the intelligence of Fugazi, and the emotion of Rites of Spring, “Trial” hit the spot for anyone looking for more substance and heaviness in their hardcore.
My original vinyl copy of “Trial” survived the massive (and now regretful) purges of my record collection through the 90s and 2000s only because once I put the record on I still got that feeling in the gut; the feeling you get listening to any of your favorite records.
Now 31 years later, Atomic Action! Records has re-issued and remastered (by Nick Townsend, Generacion Suicida, FireBurn) this masterpiece on vinyl and it is yours to discover or re-discover.
As a hardcore record “Trial” works on a holistic level; the enormous voice of Christopher Jones, the furious guitar of Pete Chramiec, and the colossal rhythm section of bassist Dylan Roy and drummer Doug Ernest. When you add cerebral lyrics dealing with socio and political themes, all that still ring true in 2018, this record stands as powerfully today as it did in 1987.
“We cannot change around
Until we change within
To scream and yell and sloganize
Only shields us from our own lies
We offer our own views
What the hell are we doing, rebels?”
“Trial” remains a go-to record for me and it has served as the archetype for hardcore with emotional power, or emo before emo was that thing.