By Jay Oakley
Baltimore’s Trigger Thirteen are made up of punk rock veterans with long histories of quality bands and crushing, energetic shows. They have returned with their latest, full length record, Trigger Thirteen.
“Reasons” starts off with a somewhat gentle intro that focuses on the lead vocals with a guitar backing and a later addition of the drums. As the intro closes you have enough time to take one breathe before the track kicks into a much more up-tempo delivery. Excellent harmony vocals support the duel guitars while the rhythm section is what gives the lead vocals added strength. “My Mistake” has a much grittier feel with a touch of angst. The lead vocals are highlighted by a shadow vocal delivery where the backing vocals compliment them almost like a conversation or after thought. It’s not a common design and props to T13’s writing for showing their dimension and bringing something that many would consider unusual. “Identity Crisis” puts the bass in the forefront to start off. The guitars kick in on the wings of the vocals and that’s when the track amps up. The backing vocals show another side of versatility because they have a touch of metal to them with a deeper, darker roar in their delivery. “Deadly Romantic” has a much more old school punk feel, lead vocals paired with a speed guitar intro. The full band kicking in gives the track more power and I find that the drums in particular come through very strong. In a position that can often leave them forgotten because they’re behind everyone the drums take center stage for this track. “Jeckel” features another bass intro but what I like about this track is it’s the first track that gets fan interactive with the vocals. I’ve always been drawn to songs that feature vocal parts that can make the crowd feel like they’re involved with the band on a deeper level then just watching them so I love any songs that feature lyrics like “Hey!” or “Go!.” “Hyde” is, of course, the pairing and is a much more aggressive angry song. But, again, well designed by T13’s writing because it still allows for the crowd to stay involved with the chorus, “What The Fuck Is Wrong With Me?!.” “Panic Attack” returns to that old school punk feel. Gritty vocals with higher end guitars and while there is an obvious lead vocal there is an intertwined moment where the backup vocalist becomes the lead with the lead dropping back. It’s a very interesting role reversal and shouldn’t go unnoticed. “Gallows” is a standout track and my personal favorite. It’s angsty, fast and brutal but has clean vocals. It features a stellar guitar solo breakdown and “Gallows” is the first track that shows you that side of playing. “Nameless” is a straight ahead, slightly poppier song. Don’t take that as a knock, there’s still plenty of guitars and drums but its sound and delivery is much more reminiscent of that late 90s, early 2000s mainstream style. “Mayday” puts the bass in the forefront and pairs it right alongside the lead vocals. It too, has that mainstream feel to it but the more aggressive playing matched with another series of soloing actually give it a cool touch of the sunset strip. It definitely has a little LA 80s wink if you listen closely. “Misery Code” is the closest you’re going to get to a down-tuned, slow song. It’s got a fuller delivery and a more open design with the bass holding down the gaps in vocals while the guitars get to show off a little. “This Dead Me” is a return to a power drumming song. It hits you with multiple vocal angles but they all harmonize well and give you the feeling that the band truly enjoys singing together. “Faded” actually starts with a more metal feel that transitions to punk. It’s another fan interactive with vocals that they can get involved in. “Faded” continues with that roller coaster, metal/punk ride with the late guitar bridge that definitely has that metal design before it returns to speed to close out the track. “Frozen” shows one final side of T13’s versatility as this track is much more melodic compared to the rest. It’s a reflection track and makes you think of a memory. Doesn’t matter the memory. Past, present, future, it’s irrelevant. The point is it makes you think and the nature of those thoughts are solely up to the listener.
All-in-all, I really like this record. It’s well written and well played. It gets you interested in seeing the band live and also has many different styles inside to allow any listener to find something to connect with. It’s a record that the band should be proud of and a record that will be enjoyed by the masses.