Responsible for releasing some of the most aggressive songs heard in hardcore, Terror have been a force to be reckoned with since even before their first studio album. The release of their debut studio album One With The Underdogs in 2004, saw the Los Angeles stalwarts spearhead the genre with total ferocity. Songs like “Keep Your Mouth Shut” and powerhouse anthem “Overcome,” solidified the groups credibility and gained them recognition early on. Since those earlier days, the band has consistently put out a collection of albums that remain true to their powerful sound and their message of perseverance, loyalty, and sacrifice. Terror became the link between that old-school hardcore sound and the heavier new school style, steady producing a sound that encapsulates that street mentality. The latest effort Total Retaliation released via Pure Noise Records, sees the band more pissed off than ever and continuing to play with that in-your-face intensity.
The band chose not to come out of the gate swinging on this record with speed or intensity, but instead created a build up that hits with powerful force. The World Never Wanted Me does a good job getting the blood pumping and creating a bit of contrast for the songs that follow. Founding member and vocalist for the band Scott Vogel, passionately screams the words “I know the pain you feel, to well its all too real, you and I we can’t deny, we got something in common.” The song opens up as an anthem to all the outcasts in the world and how Vogel found his peace and pride through not fitting in with the rest of society. This introduction creates a lot of space for the listener to get a taste of the crisp guitar tone and has a nice slow chugging, two-step feel to it.
The opener does its job of grabbing a hold of you, while Mental Demolition presents a collage of all the elements we love about Terror. The song has speed, a hard hitting breakdown, and a fiery, fast paced hook. A reoccuring aspect of this album and present throughout each song is the relationship between the vocals and the music. Vogel writes lyrics that rhyme well and gel with the flow of the music. One More Enemy highlights this feature well and you can hear how Vogel breaks down syllables to match what the instruments are playing. The song concludes in a very heavy fashion, which is an element that this band has mastered. Get Off My Back brings forth old-school vibes, commencing with a punky drum and bass segment that transitions into this classic New York style sound. These two songs are a good example of how Terror has become a musical link, utilizing old-school elements and adding their brawny new school flavor to their sound.
The band does a great job creating contrast on this record. Tracks like In Spite of These Times and Total Retaliation show two very different sides of this bands capabilities. The former is a very punchy and groovy song, where the instruments create a very swingin sound. The latter is just an all out nod to the old-school hardcore punk songs of the late 80’s/early 90’s.
Other contrasting elements include the grisly hip-hop Post Armageddon Interlude provided by none other than infamous lyricist Vinnie Paz of Jedi Mind Tricks. Dark lyrics spit over a spine-chilling beat spin this album in a whole new direction before hitting you with the next track Spirit of Sacrifice. This ballad of sorts includes a lot of melody from the string section and whole-hearted lyrics that make the message of sacrifice really stand out. This track stands out as one of the most catchy on the record and is a really fun one to jam.
Presenting a more straightforward conclusion to the album, Suffer The Edge of The Lies shows a lot open space and heavier elements that make this song bouncy and true to the heavier side of this band. Resistant To The Changes reiterates the power of the chugging guitar chords that can be heard throughout the album, creating a foot stomping ending to the album that is simplistic in its delivery.
Terror is a band that has stayed true to their sound since the beginning and Total Retaliation is an extension of that sentiment. This album adds more contrasting elements to their core sound and more diversity for them than ever heard before. Each instrument plays a big role in creating the tough presence on this record. Hardcore music has always provided a platform to get a bigger message across to the audience and with Total Retaliation, Terror create a dominating impact that drives their message home.
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