"The Distortion Field" is the 8th full-length studio album by US doom metal/heavy rock act Trouble. The album was released through FRW Records in July 2013. Since the release of "Simple Mind Condition (2007)" there have been quite a few lineup changes and the only remaining members from the lineup that recorded that album are guitarists and princible songwriters Bruce Franklin and Rick Wartell. The band have gone through several bassist changes but didn´t find a permanent solution before the recording of the album and as a consequence the bass on the album are predominantly played by Bruce Franklin and to a lesser extent by Rick Wartell. New drummer is Mark Lira and Kyle Thomas (Exhorder, Alabama Thunderpussy, Floodgate) has replaced Eric Wagner on lead vocals (well...it´s not entirely true as Kory Clarke actually filled the lead vocalist position for four years before Thomas, but he didn´t record studio material with the band).
...the latter is the most significant change. Eric Wagner is a very distinct sounding vocalist and "The Distortion Field" is the first Trouble album not to feature his rusty voice and powerful delivery. But let´s get it out of the way right now. Kyle Thomas does a pretty fine job here. He is a very different sounding vocalist compared to Eric Wagner, but his raw and passionate delivery works just as well as his predecessor´s did. It´s not surprise that the rest of the band are well playing too. The lack of a bass player does affect that part of the music though and I think it´s a slight issue.
Despite the many lineup changes the music on "The Distortion Field" is still unmistakably the sound of Trouble. Hard rocking and occasionally doomy riffs, a driving rythm section and both heavier and more laid back tracks. The Beatlesque psychadelia of the nineties are almost completely gone from this release though. There are several strong tracks on the 13 track, 61:31 minutes long album, like "When the Sky Comes Down", "One Life", "Paranoid Conspiracy" and "Sucker", but also quite a few more standard quality ones, and in the light of that it can be argued that the album is a bit too long for it´s own good. Or more simply put there are fillers on the album that could have been cut and the album would probably have been stronger overall. "The Distortion Field" is still an enjoyable listen though, maybe except for "Have I Told You", which I initially mistook for a Pearl Jam cover. Trouble are not Pearl Jam, and I don´t think they pull of trying to be very well.
The sound production is relatively well sounding, but the drums lack some power and the bass isn´t heard much in the mix. So it could definitely have been better...
...so "The Distortion Field" ends up a slightly mixed bag and while I felt about the same about "Simple Mind Condition (2007)", and probably shouldn´t be too surprised, it´s still a slight disappointment. We´re still talking about Trouble though and even a slightly disappointing album by them, is still much better than a lot of other releases coming out these days. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is warranted.