It has taken California’s Trapt a long time to get where they are today (on the brink of superstardom apparently) after endless touring, overcoming conflict with record companies and even losing a founding member. It’s just a shame they didn’t have time to write some decent material along the way. In fact, it can only be assumed that their homonymous name is derived from their feelings of being stuck in such an uninventive genre and that this has compelled them to produce this dreary debut album.
Opening track and lead single Headstrong does set a promising tone, with crunching riffs, lashing beats and Chester Bennington-esque vocals. Despite sounding terribly analogous to other recent US exports such as Hoobastank or 3 Doors Down, Trapt seem to be firm believers in the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality. After all, the bands they are emulating have shifted truckloads of albums across the pond with their Hootie And The Blowfish meets poppy, alternative rock hybrid jingles.
The following tracks, Made Of Glass and Hollow Man, are mediocre, angst-filled songs, which at times seem to dip into the boy band arena, and at others seek to imitate nu-metal, but ultimately fail to find a happy medium in between (if such a place exists!).
Trapt’s true colours certainly shine through on These Walls, Still Frame and Echo, which to be frank, are little more than middle of the road AOR with distorted guitars. Picture a really cheesed off Matchbox Twenty and you’re getting close.
Perhaps the biggest surprise Trapt have to offer is that their major label debut was produced by GGGarth Richardson (of Rage Against The Machine fame) who is renowned for his raw, vigorous style. However this album seems to have no composite mix; instead there is a clinical separation throughout, with vocals layered on top of the guitars, then drums, and bass buried far underneath lacking any power or definition. This gives a mixed-for-radio, lifeless feel to even the heavier riffs.
The metal breakdown bridges on tracks like The Game have little authenticity about them at all. You can picture the writing sessions as one bright spark thought, “Ok dude, this is where we wanna go like totally heavy man!” Goodness, when they get really angry, they even throw in the odd four letter expletive too. Shocking.
Nevertheless, taking off my musical integrity hat and replacing it with the bonnet of commercial success, there is no reason why Trapt shouldn’t explode in their homeland, where predictable radio-friendly rock acts are as common as bubblegum pop over here (sigh). Is there no justice in the world?