Friday, June 18, 2010

Verbal Assault - Trial


I thought I would do something a little different for my 100th post (!) and talk about a record that's worth for me is based strictly on the love of the music and not the collecting aspect.

Every once in a while I have a crisis of conscious. I question the money I have spent over the years as I stare at a wall of 3000 records that I am rarely able to listen to anymore. Even more than that, I hold records in my hand that I wonder if I will even remotely like in 5, 3 or even 1 year. Hellnation, A.C., and Capitalist Casualties have all gone through the stress test and failed miserably as I ended up selling them off to the local used record store after only 30 seconds on the turntable.

Then there is the one record that brings it all back and makes it all worth it. For me that record is Verbal Assault - Trial. Verbal Assault are not the first, or even the tenth, band most people think of when it comes to late 80's hardcore, but to me they were sheer perfection and "Trial" is my go to record when I question my music listening future.
All it takes is the first song on the album, "Trial" and I am swinging my fists in the air. This band was way ahead of its time. Not many bands sounded like them at the time, but a whole lot did after. Lots of melody, thought provoking lyrics and one hell of a singer. Christopher Jones had the best scream in hardcore!

The vinyl is nothing to write home about as far as collecting goes. The first press was released on Giant Records back in 1987. The label is home to some of the less popular albums by Dag Nasty, Uniform Choice and Government Issue.

All the vinyl for this release is on black.

Cool simple lyric sheet with a great illustration that they used as a logo and backdrop.

The record was later repressed on Konkurrel Records with a slightly different front cover design.

"ON", "Tiny Giants" and "Exit" don't quite hold up as well over time especially with all the experimental stuff they were doing with reggae and a whole lot of "modern" guitar effects. I guess that is no different than a lot of hardcore bands at the time.

Old school purists look to their first record "Learn" as the definitive VA record based on the time period and who produced it. No doubt, "When I Think" is an amazing song! For my money though, "Trial" is it.

Do me a favor and flip through your collection and pull Trial out for a listen...or go download it I guess. It is well worth it.

"For that day, I stood trial. For my lies and denials. For my lack of discipline and responsibility."

15 comments:

  1. Top 10. Now and forever. Learn don't even come close to how good this is.

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  2. Great post. Inspirational in a way. I am ashamed to say that I do not own this, and nor have I ever heard it. I now feel like a total idiot, especially since I have owned 'Learn' for 16 years or so.

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  3. So the funny thing is that I had a day off work today, and was tidying up a bit and realised that I actually DO own a copy of this record. I have the Kinkurrel version with a black & white cover. I must have played it all of once I think.

    I now feel like even more of an idiot than I did three days ago.

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  4. This LP is also in my top 10. Sadly i missed these guy play a show in a Vancouver suburb in the late 80's while on a family vacation. It still bugs me to this day.

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  5. I might even say this is a Top 5 record...

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  6. Sadly, I can only saw I liked the record, but I can only say I liked the TAPE. Yes, I have a cassette version only of Trial. Now, I do have Learn on 12", which I like better since the melodies and stuff of Trial were not my thing, and still don't appeal to me. I like pure hardcore of their first. Also I have a copy of their demo on cassette thanks to TPOS. On the other hand my sister loved the Trial and On tapes (and this is a girl who liked Jon Bon Jovi), go figure.

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  7. Yep, I have Trail on Giant records vinyl. Top 10 for sure, maybe Top 5 for me. Right up there next to the N.O.T.A. and Snuff on my underrated list. :D

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  8. Top 5, and quite possibly #1 album for me... defined so much of what I became at that period in my life (1998) this one will stay with me forever.

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  9. IMHO, everything they did from ''Trial'' til the breakup was great, great, great. way better than ''learn''. i waited years and years to hear that damn recorded (i started off with ''trial'') and it was such a letdown of mediocre hardcore. on the other hand, grooves (pun intended) of ''On'', sincerity and strength of ''more than music'', and innovation and atmosphere of ''Exit'' is something rare in a lifetime of one hardcore band.

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  10. Trial>>Learn. Probably a top 5 for me as well. I have formed some of the best friendships in my life over the love of this record. My old band attempted to cover Understand, but there was no way I could give the vocals justice. I also had this on tape for years before I nabbed it on LP. (Side note for Alberta People) Tape was purchased at Sound Connection in Edmonton for a fiver.
    Dave Sams

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  11. My old band opened for them in Switzerland in 1988 or so, their set was so impressive, their energy so amazing... The stage itself was moving in circles when these guys were playing, they were all over the place...nice guys too !!!! pete Chramiec was young and amazing!!!!! This band made me move to the USA from France...
    still love listening to this so much !!!!

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  12. Where do I find this album in digital form. Since I lost my records years ago, I've not heard this. I wore out the grooves on this one. still one of my all time favorites without even hearing it in over ten. I'm totally jonesing for it. please help! contacted the band a few years back and they said they were releasing it on cd, but I guess it never happened... bummer.

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  13. After Articles of Faith "Give Thanks", VA's "Trial" is tied with the Rites of Spring LP for second best record I own.

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  14. Look, they took Embraces style and forged it into what would set the pace for pretty much the 1990's sound, especially on the east coast. You can't listen to this band and NOT see how it birthed Four Walls Falling, Mouthpiece, Outspoken, Worlds Collide, etc. (Seriously, listen to Effects of Age or Objects of Desire by Worlds Collide and these are near rip-offs of Verbal Assault). Trial is not a great album. It lacks the punch of "On," which is an old EP I still have in my car on cassette from so many years ago. "Exile" from that release is their best song. "Sea of Immersion," too. You can't listen to Sea of Immersion without saying, "oh, this is where Shelter got their sound from." Some record label in Rhode Island just released an LP with some super old Verbal stuff on it, called RIX Hardcore. Their old, old SxE stuff is pretty unimpressive. It could be any SxE hardcore band, you know... fast drum beat. fast guitar. white dude screaming into the mic about world peace and save the furry animals. They definitely got better over time.

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