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Trauma – As The World Dies

As The World Dies
by Dave Nowels at 05 September 2018, 7:28 AM

TRAUMA hails from the San Francisco Bay Area, coming on the scene in 1981. The band created a sound on influences based on LED ZEPPELIN, BLACK SABBATH, IRON MAIDEN and JUDAS PRIEST. These influences led to the band being an evolutionary element in the early eighties, a mesh of NWOBHM, Classic Rock and ultimately, Thrash. This was a significant turning point in Metal history, and the Bay Area was the erupting point. If you doubt their influence upon that scene, consider this. James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich and Dave Mustaine of METALLICA recruited a young bass player from TRAUMA. That bass player just happened to be Cliff Burton.

While I completely acknowledge the historical importance of the band, they just don’t excite me musically overall. “As The World Dies” is pretty average for a new Metal album from a band of that era now. There’s nothing new or original that jumps out at you, and that really disappoints me. At times the IRON MAIDEN influence is overpowering, though at other times I might think that is a good thing. Vocals are a key factor in how I enjoy an album. Hillier’s vocals just don’t hit my ears well. Others may enjoy them, and that’s completely understandable. I think I’m just a vocal snob. I found they distracted me from what I did enjoy. The music.  Again, the IRON MAIDEN influence is ever present, and if it were Dickenson presenting them, at times you’d have difficulty actually distinguishing TRAUMA from MAIDEN.

“The Rage” is the first of the album’s ten tracks and for me was one of the stronger cuts. A melodic chorus, dual guitar riffing and soaring solos, backed by a tight back end provided by Christian and Gustofson. This lays down the basics for the remainder of the album, as it doesn’t really deviate much. “Gun to Your Head” was about as good as it got for me. Even the vocals mostly worked on this one.  Easily my highlight of the album. I also really wanted to enjoy the overall feel of “Entropy” Regrettably I found the production and mixing of this track so horrible as to absolutely crush the life out of it. Strangly, I did not notice this to be present on any other track.  The only track I really couldn’t stomach was “Cool Aid”. It just wasn’t a well crafted song in any way. It has weird. A weird chorus, horrible lyrics and just a bizarre overall feel.

I really wanted to like this one. Mainly it just failed to register with me.

Songwriting: 6
Originality: 6
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. The Rage
2. From Here To Hell
3. As The World Dies
4. Gun To Your Head
5. Last Rites
6. Run For Cover
7. Asylum
8. Entropy
9. Cool Aid
10. Savage
Donnie Hillier – Vocals
Joe Fraulob – Guitar
Steve Robello - Guitar
Greg Christian – Bass
Kris Gustofson - Drums
Record Label: The Orchard/Sony/Rivet Records


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Edited 07 February 2023

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