The Distortion Field

Label: Hammerheart Records
Three similar bands: Black Sabbath/The Doors/Kyuss

Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm
1. When the Sky Comes Down
2. Paranoia Conspiracy
3. The Broken Have Spoken
4. Sink or Swim
5. One Life
6. Have I Told You
7. Hunters of Doom
8. Glass of Lies
9. Butterflies
10. Sucker
11. The Greying Chill of Autumn
12. Bleeding Alone
13. Your Reflection
14. The Apple from the Snake

Rick Wartell - guitars, bass (track 9), vocals (backing)
Bruce Franklin - guitars, bass, vocals (backing)
Kyle Thomas - vocals (lead, backing)
Mark Lira - drums, percussion

Psalm 9 (1984)
The Skull (1985)
Run to the Light (1987)
Trouble (1990)
Manic Frustration (1992)
Plastic Green Head (1995)
Simple Mind Condition (2007)
The Distortion Field (2013)

Jeff Olson - keyboards
Michael Drew - bass (track 13)
Michael Aukofer - drums (tracks 5, 10, 13)

Bruce Franklin - Producer
Rick Wartell - Producer
Bill Metoyer - Mixing
Larry Burns - Engineering
Fully remastered by Erwin Hermsen at Toneshed Studio

Released 2022-07-29
Reviewed 2022-12-24



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There was a bit of Trouble last year when we reviewed four reissues of a quite mixed quality but one of them was quite amazing. This album called The Distortion Field is another reissue, it was originally released in 2013, quite a bit later than the four I reviewed last year. The cover isn’t great looking, but most of the earlier releases were the same so that shouldn’t be a problem. I read that they for the first time changed vocalist, so this album features another one than long time vocalist Eric Wagner who sadly passed away last year. The Distortion Field is also the latest album the band has released to date, so reissuing it might be a little premature perhaps, but as I read that they are to release a new album in 2023 I guess it is marketing.

Stylewise it isn’t that different from the other albums I have reviewed, you can hear that it is the same band as they use the same stylistic touches. And honestly, I didn’t even note that they had another singer on this one, so if the change in singer is a reason for the quite mixed reviews I found for this one, it is just plain wrong as Kyle and Eric are similar singers, and from comparing Trouble albums it is impossible to say who is the better one. This album is helped from a fresher sound than what was on the earlier albums that was released decades earlier, it is also fresh and different enough to feel like a fresher more relevant album rather than just a dream of reviving lost times.

It is an album with many things going for it, and if I were to use these reissues to build a Trouble collection my first choices would be the self-titled album from 1990 and this one as those two are the best ones. I like this one because of the great style, atmosphere, and high-quality songs. It may not stand out terribly much, but enough to be interesting and enough to appeal to whoever happens to find it beneath the never-ending avalanche of irrelevant music. I reflect a bit that it is funny that much of the more high-impact albums I have listened to this year are reissues – then I realise that it isn’t that strange as even the original releases sound like reissues, derivative and dull. There is a reason why I didn’t even feel like writing a summary of last year, and I am not sure there will be meaningful to write one this year either. Especially not when the more relevant releases seem to be reissues like this one or Ayreon’s two.

Still, I think this one is worth checking out, especially if you missed it when it was first issued, it is still a lot fresher and more interesting than most albums I have heard from the 2020s.