Terror (USA-LA) - Trapped In A World review


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Band: Terror (USA-LA)
Album: Trapped In A World
Release date: March 2021

01. Lowest Of The Low
02. Life And Death
03. Out Of My Face
04. Keep Your Distance
05. Less Than Zero
06. Overcome
07. Better Off Without You
08. Crushed By The Truth
09. Not This Time
10. One With The Underdogs
11. Keep Your Mouth Shut
12. Push It Away

Where have the years gone.

Time flies when you're having fun, testament to the enduring quality of Terror (USA-LA), as it is hard to believe it has been twenty years since the inception of the band and nineteen years since the release of their debut Lowest Of The Low; celebrating this milestone sees the band revisit their early days on Trapped In A World, a combination of material from their debut and One With The Underdogs.

Re-recording past material and live-in-studio albums alone involve a series of trade-offs for listeners, asking them to choose between improved production versus the character and grit of the originals, where the imperfections become as much a part of the songs as what they do right. Terror (USA-LA) have no qualms about jumping in at the deep end, taking on both issues at the same time; while I was apprehensive that the band may have fallen afoul as others have before them, these concerns flew out the window seconds after hitting play, as the band launch themselves into the seminal hit "Lowest Of The Low" with as much conviction as their earlier incarnations had.

The years have seemingly passed Terror (USA-LA) by with barely a dent on them, as both Vogel and Jett sound as powerful and hungry as they did way back in 2003; "Out Of My Face" and "Overcome" don't merely rest on their laurels and reputation thanks to the effort and enthusiasm put in by the band. While Stewart, Posner and Linkovich were not on the originals, they play a faithful yet no less powerful version that hits hard and fast to ensure they are not merely carbon impressions, which is an added boon for listeners.

Trapped In A World sees the return of Todd Jones to the Terror (USA-LA) fold, though from behind the producer's desk rather than behind a guitar. The choice of producer was an astute choice for the band, as it ensured the person tasked with capturing the energy of the room already has an insider knowledge of the tracks, having played on the original versions. Jones captures the "live in the room" vibe while maintaining a clarity and separation between the instruments, with tracks like "Better Off Without You" hitting the spot perfectly.

The biggest shortcoming, however, is in the album's production; with the album being recorded live in the studio, there is a big focus on a more stripped back and natural sound on tracks like "Not This Time" and "Keep Your Distance" that, while still enjoyable, suffers as Jones fails to capture enough low end and abrasiveness when compared to their original versions. How much of an issue this is for you will likely hinge on whether you prefer a cleaner sound or one that is grittier; though both work well in hardcore, for me personally I lean way more to the latter than the former. While it is a step down, it is not a deal breaker and is still very enjoyable.

While there will inevitably be some who bemoan the omission of their favourite track (would it have killed them to include "What Have We Done"?), Trapped In A World does mix in deeper cuts as well as the big hitters that should appeal to most fans of the band. The album does at least offer itself up as a good entry point for new fans of the band; while not quite a greatest hits compilation, it is a good approximation of their early material in one convenient place. Given the band are planning on releasing a new full-length album later in the year, if that alone were not enough to excite already then Trapped In A World should certainly see you chomping at the bit waiting for calendar pages to fall.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: -
Originality: -
Production: 6


Written on 07.03.2021 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.

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