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Trouble was formed in Chicago, Illinois, USA in 1979 by vocalist Eric Wagner, guitarists Bruce Franklin and Rick Wartell, bassist Sean McAllister, and drummer Jeff Oly Olson. Drawing deeply from Black Sabbath for inspiration (with occasional nods to the psychedelic sounds of the late '60s thrown in for good measure), the band forged an uncompromising brand of classic metal all their own, made more unique by their gloomy down-tuned riffs and spiritual, often mistakenly religious lyrics, which quickly earned them the dubious "white metal" tag. The album and songtitle Run To The Light was thought to be a religious title while it actually came from Eric Wagner watching Poltergeist and writing it down.

The band toured throughout the Midwest during the early '80s before signing with Metal Blade Records and releasing their amazingly mature eponymous debut (later referred to as Psalm 9) in 1984. The equally impressive (and even more
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TROUBLE Discography

TROUBLE albums / top albums

TROUBLE Psalm 9 album cover 4.08 | 16 ratings
Psalm 9
Traditional Doom Metal 1984
TROUBLE The Skull album cover 3.76 | 12 ratings
The Skull
Traditional Doom Metal 1985
TROUBLE Run to the Light album cover 4.50 | 12 ratings
Run to the Light
Traditional Doom Metal 1987
TROUBLE Trouble album cover 2.91 | 12 ratings
Traditional Doom Metal 1990
TROUBLE Manic Frustration album cover 4.05 | 11 ratings
Manic Frustration
Stoner Metal 1992
TROUBLE Plastic Green Head album cover 3.46 | 8 ratings
Plastic Green Head
Stoner Metal 1995
TROUBLE Simple Mind Condition album cover 3.55 | 6 ratings
Simple Mind Condition
Stoner Metal 2007
TROUBLE The Distortion Field album cover 3.40 | 6 ratings
The Distortion Field
Stoner Metal 2013

TROUBLE EPs & splits

TROUBLE Unplugged album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Non-Metal 2007

TROUBLE live albums

TROUBLE Live in L.A. album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live in L.A.
Traditional Doom Metal 2008
TROUBLE Live Schaumburg 1993 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live Schaumburg 1993
Traditional Doom Metal 2010
TROUBLE Live Palatine 1989 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live Palatine 1989
Traditional Doom Metal 2010
TROUBLE Live 1983 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live 1983
Traditional Doom Metal 2011
TROUBLE Black Shapes of Doom album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Black Shapes of Doom
Traditional Doom Metal 2011

TROUBLE demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

TROUBLE 1980 demo album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
1980 demo
Traditional Doom Metal 1980
TROUBLE 1982 demo album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
1982 demo
Traditional Doom Metal 1982
TROUBLE 1983 demo album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
1983 demo
Traditional Doom Metal 1983
TROUBLE Live album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Traditional Doom Metal 1983
TROUBLE 1985 demo album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
1985 demo
Traditional Doom Metal 1985
TROUBLE One for the Road album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
One for the Road
Traditional Doom Metal 1994

TROUBLE re-issues & compilations

TROUBLE Demos & Rarities (1980-1995) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Demos & Rarities (1980-1995)
Traditional Doom Metal 2005
TROUBLE Demos & Rarities 1984-94 (Part II) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Demos & Rarities 1984-94 (Part II)
Traditional Doom Metal 2006
TROUBLE Unplugged album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Traditional Doom Metal 2009
TROUBLE Revelations (Life or Death) - Demos & Rarities Part 1 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Revelations (Life or Death) - Demos & Rarities Part 1
Traditional Doom Metal 2011
TROUBLE Victim of the Insane - Demos & Rarities Part 2 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Victim of the Insane - Demos & Rarities Part 2
Traditional Doom Metal 2011

TROUBLE singles (2)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Traditional Doom Metal 1984
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Misery Shows
Traditional Doom Metal 1990

TROUBLE movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

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Live in Stockholm
Traditional Doom Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
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Traditional Doom Metal 2007



Album · 1990 · Traditional Doom Metal
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Trouble’s self-titled is considered the band’s best work, but I consider it a large step back. To be clear, it’s still one of the best Trad Doom albums of its era, but that’s partly the problem. The Skull and Run to the Light were making bounds and leaps towards true Doom – the depressing, emotional atmosphere, the crushing riffs… They were certainly the closest the 80’s came to true Doom, and they were masterpieces.

Trouble is simply the band falling back into groovy Trad Doom territory. The progress of their last few albums is thrown aside in favor of a more “fun” traditional album. The songwriting is simplified, and there’s more focus on vocal melodies. Lyrics tend to be somber, but the delivery isn’t. In fact, it sounds like the band’s having a great time. Good for them, but I don’t want my Doom to sound like that!

All those gripes aside, I have to reiterate it’s probably the best pure Trad Doom put to record by the turn of the decade. Songs are interesting, varied, and fun. Eric Wagner sounds better than ever, though I prefer his more desperate delivery on earlier releases.


Album · 1985 · Traditional Doom Metal
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Not incredibly impressed by Trouble’s debut album, their sophomore effort The Skull completely blew me away. I will say that this is the first Doom Metal album that makes the transition from Trad Doom to the more modern, melancholic Doom that I personally favor.

Musically, the lead guitar focuses on simple albeit effective melodies that add an extra layer of mood to the basic riffs that litter Trad Doom. The song structures are much more progressive – not that the music is incredibly complex, but there is a lot of variation, changes in speed, and many, many riffs in each of the rather long tracks. The solos have a fantastic balance of going for purposeful melodies that work perfectly with the rhythm work, or outright breaking into distorted, droning chaotic buzz. The drumming is another thing I love; I’d say this is also the first case of what I’d call “intelligent Doom Metal drumming.” Instead of simply playing slow, plodding beats, the drummer adds some progressive beats, and adds a great amount of double bass drumming in as well. Occasionally, all the musicians break out into speedy sections and just have at it, which I love in Doom. One song even has synthesized strings – a staple to modern Doom!

The lyrics and mood are the biggest separators from Trad Doom. No, I’m not talking about the Christian lyrics, I mean the references to depression, suicide, loss and death. The rich symbolism and more poetic style of songwriting is something that would be heavily expanded upon by Death Doomers of the 90’s, but it started right here. The music is also much more set to reflect the mood here, and there’s a clear difference to previously Satanic or drug and party influenced Doom of before.

Another aspect I haven’t seen in Trad Doom displayed here is passion. There is true passion in the lyrics and vocal delivery, even if those vocals are pretty rough. It’s clear the vocalist is not only 100% struggling with loss of hope and other issues, but also completely has faith in his God to help him, and to help others, and he’s truly thankful for it. This is music written for purpose; not just to sound good, but to deliver an important message. I myself am not a religious person of any kind, but I can still appreciate the passion and meaning to the music here, and the groundbreaking achievement that it was for my favorite music genre, Doom Metal.


Album · 1990 · Traditional Doom Metal
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"Trouble" is the 4th full-length studio album by US doom metal/heavy rock act Trouble. The album was released through the Rick Rubin owned Def American Recordings in February 1990. It´s the band´s first release on the label and label boss Rick Rubin acts as producer on the album. It´s of some notice that the album is actually the second release by the band to feature an eponymous title as Trouble´s debut album from 1984 also featured that title. The latter had it´s title changed to "Psalm 9" after the release of the 1990 album.

Musically the album takes a bit of a left turn compared to the three preceding releases by the band. While "Run to the Light (1987)" wasn´t nearly as doomy and heavy as the first two releases by the band, it was still through and through a doom metal release. The same can´t be said about "Trouble", which features a more accessible vers/chorus structured hard/heavy rock with only very few nods toward doom metal. Examples of the latter style can be heard in the intro to "R.I.P." and in the middle section of "Heaven on My Mind". A psychadelic element has also crept into the band´s sound, which can be heard on "The Misery Shows (Act II)", where there are nods toward both Pink Floyd and The Beatles. Mostly though the tracks just rock really hard with sharp and groove laden riffing. It´s often said that a self-titled release signals a significant change in sound or a return to the roots, and the former is certainly true when it comes to this album.

The band make the transition with great success though and even though the musical style is in many ways quite different from what came before, this is still unmistakably the sound of "Trouble". Heavy hard rocking riffing, a heavy rhythm section (more hard rocking and groove laden than earlier), and of course the powerful and rusty sounding vocals by Eric Wagner in front. A bit more simple and accessible but still damn heavy. The material is generally of high quality and all tracks are memorable and well played. The Rick Rubin production suits the music well and overall "Trouble" is quite the enjoyable listen if you adjust your expectations to how it sounds and don´t expect it to be a full blown doom metal album. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

TROUBLE Plastic Green Head

Album · 1995 · Stoner Metal
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"Plastic Green Head" is the 6th full-length studio album by US doom metal/hard rock act Trouble. The album was originally released through Bulletproof Records (a sub-label to Music for Nations) in Europe in April 1995. It was later licensed by Century Media Records for a US release with the bonus track "Till the End of Time". "Plastic Green Head" marked the recording comeback of original drummer Jeff Olson, who left Trouble in 1986 and returned in 1993. After the relatively commercially successful "Manic Frustration (1992)" (it was the band´s best selling album and shifted around 100.000 copies) the band had high expectations to how well "Plastic Green Head" would do, but they were in for a disappointment of the great ones because the album was generally met with lurk warm reviews and many fans weren´t too happy with the album either. To make matters even worse the band´s European tour was cancelled and they decided to take a longer break. A break that ended up being even longer because lead vocalist Eric Wagner left the band in 1997. He came back in 2000 but it would be another 7 years before they released their 7th full-length studio album "Simple Mind Condition (2007)".

The music on "Plastic Green Head" is somewhat in the vein of the music on "Manic Frustration (1992)" albeit a bit more psychadelic and not quite as sharp and memorable. That means doomy hard rock with heavy riffs, a rusty vocal in front and a nice groove. As such the band do what they do best, but the material are generally not catchy enough and too many of the tracks are forgotten as soon as the album is over. The sound production is not as powerful or edgy as on the predecessor either and "Plastic Green Head" is just generally not as exciting as "Manic Frustration (1992)". I don´t know if a slight fatique had slipped into the band at this point, but the material just don´t seem as inspired as it is on earlier releases by the band. I kinda enjoy their excursions into psychadelic territory, when they do a cover of "Tomorrow Never Knows" by The Beatles, but the increased psychadelic influence does take away some of the edge from the music too.

The musicianship is as always strong but the sound production lacks a bit of bite, which might have helped some of the more "laid back" tracks to shine a bit more. Overall "Plastic Green Head" was and still is a disappointment considering it was the successor to the really strong "Manic Frustration (1992)". It´s still somewhat enjoyable though and a 3 star (60%) rating isn´t all wrong.

TROUBLE The Distortion Field

Album · 2013 · Stoner Metal
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"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 (´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... "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.

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