Trouble – One For The Road/Unplugged

One For The Road Unplugged Double Album Cover Art

Trouble – One For The Road/Unplugged
Hammerheart Records
Release Date: 11/02/2022
Running Time: 67:00
Review by Alun Jones

The mighty Trouble! A release from these titans of Doom Metal is always worth celebration, and this is no exception. Back in the early 90’s, this cult band were verged on the edge of a mainstream breakthrough, with two albums on the Rick Rubin helmed Def American Records (also home to Slayer, Danzig, Black Crowes and others). Alas, it was not to be – this eternal underground favourite was to remain just that. “One for the Road” followed the second, self-titled Def American album, as a limited-edition European tour EP. This re-release bundles that with a full length “Unplugged” album – remastered to provide a fully upgraded compilation.

The first five songs comprise that “One for the Road” EP, with first track ‘Goin’ Home’ bursting from the speakers with exactly the kind of exciting Hard Rock you’d expect as a Trouble opener. ‘Window Pain’ offers a pulsating, mid paced Doom rocker, whilst ‘Requiem’ brings the tempo down further with a melancholy, gloomy Metal dirge. The Black Sabbath influence is most obvious on ‘Another Day’, whilst ‘Doom Box’ raises the tempo a little but still holds a candle to Dio era Sabs. Some of these songs would turn up in different forms on later albums, but this EP brings together an excellent capsule that fits neatly into that mid 90’s period.

Back in the early / mid 90’s, “unplugged” albums were all the rage. Like others of that era, this Trouble entry into that genre isn’t always stripped down totally to just vocals and acoustic guitar: there’s still electric guitar, drums and more to embellish the tracks where necessary. The strings added to this second version of ‘Requiem’ are exceptionally orchestrated and serve the mood of the piece brilliantly. That said, ‘7.00 AM’ is a remarkably restrained and beautiful song, recalling Sabbath and also Trouble worshippers Soundgarden. 

Those songs – and the other tracks comprising the “Unplugged” part of this release, offer a relaxed side of the band that explores more of their Psychedelic, sixties interests (see their cover of The Yardbirds’ ‘Heartful of Soul’). It’s a release that even my eleven-year-old daughter appreciated. The only mis-step is the jaunty jig of ‘Smile’, which is just too jangly and nice. Yet have no fear, the version of ‘Misery’ showcased here (released as ‘The Misery Shows’ on the eponymous Def American release) reminds us just how great this band were. 

My only major issue is the cover art. That may seem petty when this is a review of the band’s music, but as a long-term Trouble fan, I’m considering buying the vinyl copy for my collection. And that vile cover may well deter me from doing so. Trouble has a great logo, but the cover squanders this with nothing other than the title, in what looks like – GASP! – Comic Sans MS! A font that should only be used by primary school teaching assistants, it dates and also ridicules the stature of the music. It’s a truly vile and lazy cover – seemingly thrown together by a Johnny-No-Stars work experience boy on his lunch break. Awful. Couldn’t someone have redesigned it?

I’m docking points for that, ‘cos the cover mocks all I hold holy. Beyond that, fantastic music and a must for any Trouble fan.

RIP Eric Wagner.

01. Goin’ Home
02. Window Pain
03. Requiem
04. Another Day
05. Doom Box
06. 7.00 am (Unplugged)
07. Rain (Unplugged)
08. Flowers (Unplugged)
09. Requiem (Unplugged)
10. Smile (Unplugged)
11. Misery (Unplugged)
12. Mythic Hero (Unplugged)
13. Waiting for the Sun (Unplugged)
14. Fly (Unplugged)
15. Heartful of Soul (Unplugged)

Rick Wartell – Guitars 
Bruce Franklin – Guitars 
Kyle Thomas – Vocals 
Mark Lira – Drums
Rob Hultz – Bass


Trouble Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Alun Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

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