Only Through The Pain

Written by: PP on 23/08/2008 19:49:37

Lately, I've made a habit of checking out old hard rock & nu-metal bands, who were massive at the height of the two movements about five or six years ago, to see how their newest releases are measuring up to past successes. Trapt and their third album "Only Through The Pain" is the next patient on my list (with more to come), and like pretty much all of their colleagues aside from Disturbed, they, too, have shifted radically away from the ingredients that lifted them to mainstream recognition back then.

Instead of re-writing the cherished, heavy-hitting hard rock anthems "Echo" and "Headstrong", constructed from huge riffs and even huger choruses, Trapt has largely moved away from the metallic base of their guitars. They're more of an alternative rock band now with less distorted guitars, and most audibly, less scratched yelling by vocalist Chris Brown. He has become a much better singer, now able to integrate much smoother melody into his vocals than before, best seen in the aptly titled track "Contagious". It's catchy as hell, and Brown has no problem reaching the higher notes required to pull the song's pop-reaching chorus off. Similar improvement can be heard on "Who's Going Home With You Tonight?", where he sounds a little like the Smile Empty Soul vocalist. But this is done at the expense of power in the songs, which now sound awfully tame for a hard rock group.

"Wasteland" is the only track on the record offering any glimpse of past Trapt, with a much heavier guitar base and mildly interesting riffs, but here too the verses consist of soft guitar and high-pitch vocals. And you can forget about scratchy yelling, Brown is clean-singing throughout the track, like throughout the whole album.

These three songs are all pretty decent hard rock songs that I don't mind listening to. But as for the other eight, there just isn't enough kick in the songs. "Black Rose" ruthlessly rips off an incredibly famous pop song from a few years ago (I can't get the name in my head right now). "Ready When You Are" is an even slower ballad, and my interest level drops at about a multiple of eight with each downwards pace change. By "Forget About The Rain", the formula is starting to become clear for "Only Through The Pain": three songs in the beginning of the disc capable carrying it beyond the really shitty marks, but rest of the songs are merely filler with pretty much zero artistic or long term listening value. My grudge isn't so much with the fact that most of them are ballads, but with the notion that they just aren't very good songs. But this is what major label hard rock bands have always been about: couple of killer tracks and rest filler.


Download: Wasteland, Contagious
For the fans of: Shinedown, Adema, Smile Empty Soul, Rev Theory

Release date 05.08.2008
Eleven Seven Records

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