Tuesday 12 November 2019

Trust - Fils de lutte (2019)

Country: France
Style: Hard Rock
Rating: 7/10
Release Date: 27 Sep 2019
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Legendary French rockers Trust were originally formed back in 1977 and lead vocalist Bernie Bonvoisin and lead guitarist Nono Krief have remained as the core of the line-up through four incarnations of the band. Fils de Lutte, or Son of Struggle, is their twelfth studio album, and it arrives only a single year after Dans le même, suggesting that they're enjoying themselves and we may see more in the years to come.

If the name doesn't ring a bell, it's probably because you're not French, as they are huge in their home country. They're probably best known in the west for featuring not one but two Iron Maiden drummers over the years, with both Clive Burr and Nicko McBrain playing with them in the eighties; and because Anthrax have memorably covered two of their songs, including their biggest, Antisocial, bringing it to a whole new audience.

Over the years, the band with whom they've been most frequently compared are AC/DC and that's still appropriate. There's plenty of AC/DC to be found in the opening track, Portez vos croix, or Wear Your Cross, though it alternates into older school rock 'n' roll, going all the way back to that original Chuck Berry sound. It shows up in Ce n'est pas la Corée du Nord too (It's Not North Korea) and in Tendances (Trends), which has a fantastic slow riff.

Bonvoisin is sounding less and less like Bon Scott with age though. There's still a wink in his voice, most obviously on the highly cheeky Miss univers, but he's more like Bob Seger nowadays, especially on a song like Y'a pas le feu mais faut brûler, which translates to the intriguing There's No Fire But You Must Burn.

There are other influences apparent in Trust's sound, though they've been an influential band for long enough that it's easiliy fair to say that they've influenced even more other bands than they've drawn from themselves. There's lots of Thin Lizzy in C'n'est pas d'ma faute, or It's Not My Fault, and some Golden Earring in the bass-driven Les soleil brille pour tous, which I think translates to The Sun Shines on Us All.

By the way, the bass there is not the work of Izo Diop, bassist for sixteen years, because he switched over to guitar in 2016 when David Jacob rejoined the band. Between them, they've handled bass duties since 1996 and now they function as a dual guitar band.

Les soleil brille pour tous also features a fantastic use of female backing vocals, as do quite a few songs here. I don't know who the singers are who are responsible for that, but it sounds great and it adds a soulful feel to songs that are based more in the blues. They elevate On va prendre cher, a mysterious track because I cannot translate it; J'ai cessé de compter, which means I Stopped Counting; and Y'a pas le feu mais faut brûler, among others.

Trust are known for providing good value with their albums, this one being the shortest this millennium even though it features a dozen tracks in well over fifty minutes. What's notable is that there's no filler here, each of the tracks doing its job, though nothing leaps out as an obvious single. It plays out like albums used to do, showcasing different angles to the band's sound across a variety of quality songs.

The biggest complaint I can have is with the track listing. Every one of my favourite songs is on the second half of the album, as if they turned it up a notch when I flipped it over. Also, while it wraps up with a decent song, Delenda, it doesn't feel like an ending. But hey, when the track listing is the worst thing to say about an album, you know it has to be worth listening to. I look forward to lucky album number thirteen in 2020!

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