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Review – Trapt "Only Through The Pain" (2008) July 25, 2008

Posted by rawkfistmusic in 2008, Trapt.
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Written by Andrew “Gravity”

It’s been six years since California based rockers Trapt injected the masses with “Headstrong” an anthem that remains trapped in our heads to this very day, and while that self-titled debut album produced another memorable smash with “Echo” suffice it to say that Trapt has fallen off a bit lately. The follow up record Someone In Control disappointed and failed to recreate the startling success of the first album but Trapt remained resilient. Now in a year already jammed to the brim with great releases, this band tries to reaffirm it’s position as one of the top bands of the genre with it’s third major release Only Through The Pain.

First things first, listeners should be aware right away that this third release of Trapt’s is not a clone of either of the first two albums, but instead a memorable blend of the two. Trapt succeeded in melodic rock with powerful chords and hooks, while Someone In Control established itself as a thrashing record with good solo work. Only Through The Pain flashes brilliance in both categories with various songs. The first of the big standouts is the leadoff single “Who’s Going Home With You Tonight” which is remniscent of past Trapt singles like “Still Frame” and “Waiting”. The song is a good choice for a first single and could help the band break through again. While the title implies it may in fact be the next big cock rock track (see Hinder) the lyrics say otherwise. Chris Brown’s vocal work as always is a big selling point with this track but the writing is as good as it’s always been and though the song lacks any real musical experimentation, it’s still a good strong track that really should’ve been the starter for the album.

That job instead went to “Wasteland” which starts off with stronger riffs than “WGHWYT” but falls off a bit as a track that’s supposed to get the listener excited for the album, especially since the song slows down significantly before the chorus before getting back to the uptempo. “Contageous” is a bit of a step back as well, sounding like something that should have been a Someone In Control b-side and only sounds like it belongs here because of it’s relatively low key verses. Only Through The Pain takes it’s first major turn with “Black Rose” which will be sure to garner criticism for being an “emo song” thanks to the lyrics “Black rose your thorns are cutting into me, for the last time.” Don’t be fooled, the song is lyrically deep and beautiful all around, providing the best experience on the album early on.

“Ready When You Are” is a weakly crafted ballad with little to keep itself in your ears as you explore the remainder of the CD, and forget about it you will when “Forget About The Rain” begins to play. This proves to be a strong tune as well, bringing back fond memories of an old Trapt b-side called “Promise” but also sounding similar to “These Walls” a major fan favorite from the first album. “Cover Up” gets back to the Someone In Control vibe with a hard-hitting chorus and the same dark themes the aformentioned album made frequent use of. At this point Trapt’s on-again, off-again act is getting a little stale but they refuse to stop when the next two tracks are the melodic and enchanting “Only One In Color” and the oddly schemed “Wherever She Goes”. At first listen the latter stands as kind of annoying actually, as the chorus just sounds awkward and out of place, but after a few listens it tends to grow on you as one of the catchier songs the band has written. “The Last Tear” is the album’s closer and while a better attempt at a ballad than “Ready Where You Are” was, it still sounds just too generic to really get into. Which brings me to one of the best tracks here, “Curiosity Kills”. A driving and adrenaline-pumped number from start to finish, this gem somehow got buried at 10th on the album despite being a huge concert favorite and powerful number that hits hard so many times it’ll feel like a concussion by the end, a really good concussion.

Only Through The Pain is a good album, without question, but it certainly has it’s faults. Trapt’s musicianship is solid, but largely uninspiring. Brown’s vocal work while still definitely a highlight, has fallen off a tad, most notably in his range which doesn’t match up to earlier work. The riffs all sound familiar and the tunes as a whole aren’t greatly original. Perhaps most at fault here is the order of the songs. The album is too on/off on it’s tunes and while it does break up the album a bit, it also makes it hard to find a groove in the CD. Still, Trapt sticks to it’s guns here, crafting addictive hard rock that’s fun to listen to and musically sound. The production quality is up here and some of the songs are the best Trapt has yet conceived. At this point, all I ask is a little consistency.

7.5 out of 10

Download This – “Curiosity Kills”

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