Theatre of Fate Trixter (MCA) 1990

1.   Line Of Fire (4:39)
2.   Heart Of Steel (4:11)
3.   One In A Million (5:06)
4.   Surrender (5:51)
5.   Give It To Me Good (3:30)
6.   Only Young Once (5:42)
7.   Bad Girl (4:25)
8.   Always A Victim (4:13)
9.   Play Rough (4:13)
10. You'll Never See Me Cryin' (5:01)
11. Ride The Whip (5:08)
12. On And On (5:04)

Though New Jersey's Trixter were formed in the early 80's, they were one of the 'hair metal' bands that came along a little late in the game. Despite a solid local fan base and having opened for many big names in the mid-80's, it wasn't until 1989 that the band inked a deal with a record label. Their self-titled album was released on MCA Records in 1990. Trixter's debut sold well on the strength of three singles, "Give It to Me Good", "Surrender", and "One in a Million" and eventually gave the band a gold record.

Musically, Trixter play melodic hard rock with big hooks. Basically their sound is text book 80's "hair metal"; power chords, big hooks, sing-along choruses, some blues influences and proficient guitar solos. The recording is pretty typical of the late 80's as well, with production being ultra-clean and robbing the band of what could have been a heavier record. Regardless of the recording quality, the tunes are catchy as the flu. Songs like "Line of Fire", "One in A Million" and the slightly Southern-fried "Give It To Me Good" are all foot-stomping, sing-along hard rockers. Anyone who listened to Z-Rock back in the early 90's will remember "Line of Fire" and "On In A Million". Both songs were in regular rotation on that syndicated station in the early 90's. "Ride the Whip" has a slight Van Halen vibe with vocalist Pete Loran even throwing in the occasional David Lee Roth high-pitched squeal. As is the case with most bands of this ilk, there is also the sappy radio ballads. In the case of Trixter there are two, "Surrender" and "On and On". Both songs are over five minutes long, which is a bit long for the typical 80's power ballad. Frankly, one would have been enough. My distaste for sappy ballads aside, Trixter's debut is a like-able hard rock album. (Thanks Vexer6)

Hear! Trixter - Hear! (MCA) 1992

1. Road Of A Thousand Dreams (4:06)
2. Damn Good (4:52)
3. Rockin' Horse (4:11)
4. Power Of Love (3:51)
5. Runaway Train (5:23)
6. Bloodrock (4:35)
7. Waiting In That Line (5:05)
8. Nobody's A Hero (4:26)
9. Wild Is The Heart (4:16)
10. What It Takes (5:03)
11. As The Candle Burns (5:55)
12. On The Road Again (3:43)

Trixter were one of those band's who came along at the tail end of pop-metal/hair-metal's popularity. Their self-titled 1990 album did gain the band a fair amount of success. Their follow-up, however, was mostly ignored in the dying days of this fun party-style of rock and roll. A quick search of reviews on-line reveals comments like "mediocre", "average" and one even said, "shit sandwich".  However, popularity or the lack thereof is not a determining factor on whether an album in enjoyable to this music fan. "Hear!" is a fun, well-produced, melodic rock and roll album. It is overall slightly "tougher" sounding than the debut, which I am sure has to do with improved production. It's less sheen and more rock and roll.  Songs like the up-beat "Rockin' Horse" and the dynamic "Road of a Thousand Dreams" are hooky sing-along numbers with meaty guitars. The lyrics aren't exactly rocket-science, "Come on baby, get on top of my rockin' horse". However, a band like Trixter aren't out to provoke deep though. It's all about good-times and rockin'. "Runaway Train" is a nice blues-based ballad that isn't so sappy that I feel the need to hit the skip button every time it comes on. On the other hand, "As The Candle Burns" is a nauseating paint-by-numbers ballad that I don't care for at all. "Hear!" is definitely not ground-breaking and I certainly wouldn't say it's one of the greatest rock and roll albums of all time. However, had "Hear!" been released in 1987 or so, it probably would have rivaled anything on the pop rock charts and is better than some of them.  

New Audio Machine Trixter - New Audio Machine (Icarus) 2012

1.   Drag Me Down (3:59)
2.   Get On It (3:36)
3.   Dirty Love (3:41)
4.   Machine (3:35)
5.   Ride (3:48)
6.   Physical Attraction (3:52)
7.   Tattoos & Misery (3:33)
8.   The Coolest Thing (3:37)
9.   Save Your Soul (4:03)
10. Walk With A Stranger (4:32)
11. Heart of Steel [acoustic] (5:07)

At the time of this release, it had been nearly 18 years since Trixter had released an album and over 20 years since they released an album of all new material. Suprisingly and despite the two decade time lapse, "New Audio Machine" sounds exactly like what anyone would want or expect from Trixter. The album is can be described as either up-tempo, good-time rockers ("Get It On", "Dirty Love", "Save Your Soul") or mid-tempo, melancholy ballads ("Live for the Day", "The Coolest Thing"). Thankfully the rockers outweigh the ballads and none of the ballads are of the slow, sappy sort. A few songs have a bit of an AC/DC vibe to them. This is clearly heard in the opening riff of "Save Your Soul". Album opener "Drag Me Down" opens with a bluesy acoustic vibe and reminds me of the Damn Yankees. The song builds from it's acoustic opening and becomes a hooky rocker once the song kicks in. This song also has a wicked hook and probably could have been a hit for the band had it been released prior to the wretched grunge movement of the 90's. Walk With A Stranger is a cover of a little know Skid Row song. Productions values are stellar without being overly slick. The guitars have a nice bite to them and every instrument is clearly heard and in their proper place in the mix. I really can't find any fault with "New Audio Machine". Trixter stick to what they like to do and they do it well. 

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