Back in the early ninties I remember picking up Triggerman’s debut album Dead Like Me. It was a bit of a no-brainer really – it was released by Dan/ Workshed records, recorded at Westbeach by Donnel Cameron and featured Joe Nelson (Ignite, Wind Of Promise) and Gavin Oglesby (No For An Answer, Carry Nation) in the line-up. Together with striking album artwork it fitted in very well with bands such as 411 or Down By Law. They took the hardcore basics but expanded in all directions.
Fast-forward a few decades, and Triggerman are back with a new album! This time round the duo mentioned above are ably assisted by Brett Rasmussen (Ignite, Nations Afire) and Derek O’Brien (Social Distortion, Agent Orange, Adolescents) on bass and drums respectively. OK, by now anyone with at least a passing interest in Californian punk and hardcore should be sitting up and paying attention.
The resulting album is spectacular to say the least. Triggerman are in an incredibly envious position of being able to write and record exactly what they like, with no-one to please but themselves. And so this new album continues to push those boundaries way beyond all expectations. The songwriting is highly sophisticated with layers of instruments, samples and sounds building up to create a soundtrack. With those sampled snippets joining the tracks, this plays well as a continuous body of work as well as a collection of songs.
Lyrically it paints quite a bleak picture of modern life and how little control we have over it (e.g. “we’re just spectators now.. your world is changing today … don’t drink the water, don’t touch the soil”) and although at times the music is moody and melancholic, this album is a real uplifting experience. For me one of the beauties of hardcore music is seeing how musicians take what was originally a fairly narrow musical genre, but continue to use those foundations to create and innovate. Time to take a dive into the world of Triggerman. Tom Chapman