For nearly two decades now, Terror has been keeping the faith as the standard-bearer for modern hardcore. With unmatched energy for touring and performing, one can see this band in their state two or three times in a year, and the show will always be fresh, genuine, and explosive, leaving any younger, newer band looking like they’ve merely been jogging it. This isn’t to take anything away from their openers, though, as one can bet that, after playing multiple sets with the elder statesmen in Terror, those up-and-coming bands will know exactly what hardcore is supposed to sound like, and more importantly, what it’s supposed to be about.
Trapped In A World is a perfect example of the high-wire act that Terror have managed to accomplish with such effortlessness for all these years: staying true to the roots of hardcore while simultaneously moving the whole genre forward. On this record, the band revitalizes some of the genre-defining songs from their first two LPs, Lowest Of The Low and One With The Underdogs, two albums whose bona fides are unquestionable. Original guitarist for these records, Todd Jones (also of Nails, Fireburn, Knife Fight) was back on board for Trapped In A World, which serves, in part, to tease the band’s upcoming full-length, which features Jones as producer.
If this album is any indicator, the eagerness with which hardcore fans are awaiting this new Terror LP is fully justified, but it is important to point out the Trapped In A World is a fully-fledged war machine of its own.
True to the ethos of their sophomore album, Terror have long been advocates for new bands and new fans. Vogel, the Master of Ceremonies himself, is the opposite of a gatekeeper. With every one of their nearly back-to-back tours, they bring emerging bands–e.g., Year of the Knife, Vein, Magnitude, Jesus Piece, Candy, Restraining Order, Dare–to broader and larger audiences than they could otherwise access at such an early stage. They take them under their wing and, consequently, have remained fully in touch with the varying waves of hardcore over the years. A special byproduct of this ambassadorship to the new school is that new fans, young fans, many of whom might be nervous about being called a poser, might be attending their first hardcore show, might be scared witless of the roundhouses and windmills, will watch that newer band they came to see with joy and awe. With any luck, they’ll remain past curfew, telling their folks to let them stay longer, and they’ll get a chance to see Terror break down the principles of the genre in the way that only Terror can. If these young ones do that, if they feel the unity and the warmth and the fellowship that bands like Terror and vocalists like Scott Vogel cultivate, they will leave changed, hardcore fans for life.
Of Trapped In A World, Vogel says, “As the world locked down and terror went on a full pause with the pandemic hitting the USA hard, somehow this created a perfect opportunity with Nick, Todd, and myself to start writing TERROR songs twenty years after we started this band. Of course, all the other members are involved in this process, but with travel restrictions and us being so spread-out location-wise, a lot of weekends the three of us were just getting in a room and creating new terror songs and it’s been a pretty insane experience. Todd is a deep-thinking maniac that can write hardcore songs like no one I have seen before, and the three of us fell right back into our early mindset and the energy and aggression felt just like it did on day one.”
This album is a gift to longtime fans, a reimagining of the songs that have become part of the soundtrack to so many of our lives, a redux. For new fans, this is the perfect starting point for an essential band, a “Terror 101” that modernizes the songs one must know to fully experience the communal explosion of enthusiasm that occurs any time they are played live. Trapped In A World is a demonstration of the vitality of hardcore music. These songs have remained relevant and crucial to so many fans over the years. One need only attend one Terror show to see the life-changing effect these songs can have, as the stage-divers, head-walkers, and crowd-surfers celebrate the life-affirming, community-building music that these musicians have created since they were as young as some of those newcomers. Long-time fans should rejoice at this revisiting of the classics, songs whose meanings have changed with the contexts of new, complex times but which have, fundamentally, remained the same. “Lowest of the Low” still means something to any who’s experienced betrayal or disloyalty. “Out of my Face” still reinforces sincerity and trust in one’s self, no matter what others say. “Overcome” is still a song that can help the listener to stick it out through the toughest circumstances that life can provide, particularly when they know that, somewhere out there, countless fans are receiving the same punk therapy.
Terror is timeless. If that fact ever needed more proof, Trapped In A World is it.
Trapped In A World is self-released by Terror and can be picked up at their official site.
It was recorded at Jet to Mars Studio.
It was engineered and mixed by Nick Jett and Ryan Marr
It was mastered by Will Putney.