It would appear Tampa Bay, Florida’s Trample like to unwind to Cro-Mags and SOIA with their morning java (decaf, of course), and Strike When Provoked is a pretty straightforward hardcore record that doesn’t shy away from its influences.
Although it might seem a tidbit trite to talk about things like “family” on a hardcore record, it does make sense from a musical standpoint -- what with all the backup up and gang vocals that usually pop up from time to time, it’ll probably remind you of that Mary J. Blidge song “Family Affair.” This record is no exception, but unfortunately those tried and tested staples fall a bit flat in their execution. Usually, distinct backup vocals can help punctuate the idea the resident vocalist is trying to convey in a much sharper way that they might otherwise not be able to do on their own; but in some cases, like “Strike When Provoked” and “Burn It Down,” it just makes things funny because of the backup singer’s voice. The fellow sounds like someone trying to open a pickle jar. The gang vocals the band throw in don’t fare much better either; on “No Weak Links,” right about the point in the song where the energy should be climaxing, this particular gang appears to be populated by Ben Stein clones, completely flaccid.
While these vocal missteps tend to trip up the relatively quick momentum the album builds as a whole, the recording is what does the real disservice to the songs. The production the band opts for is sadly a relatively glossy finish that takes the bite out of the guitars and gives the drums hi-hat heavy potato sack feel. Trample are a hardcore band and as such the music is supposed to be immediate, hard, fast and loud. None of these aspects really comes across to the listener with this recording, which is a shame because songs like “In Solidarity” and “Burn It Down” could have something to them if it wasn’t for that fact.
Trample have written a piece of music that shows some promise and is certainly sincere, but the problems with the record are ones that tend to be repeated and never really resolve themselves. If you are in need of a quick NYHC fix, I suggest you look elsewhere for the time being.