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Trauma - Rapture and Wrath

Trauma
Rapture and Wrath
by Andrew Sifari at 06 February 2015, 10:23 PM

A band that used to feature bass legend Cliff Burton is releasing an album this month, but it’s definitely not the one you’re thinking of. For those of you who haven’t heard, Bay Area heavy metallers TRAUMA return after being inactive for the last three decades with “Rapture and Wrath”, the group’s second full-length overall. Reformed in 2013 to support the reissue of their debut album “Scratch and Scream,” the band pump some classic Metal nostalgia and attitude into this surprisingly solid, NWOBHM-flavored attack.

The only member of the original TRAUMA lineup to appear here is vocalist Donny Hillier. Compared to his earlier efforts with the band, Hillier’s vocals sound much more refined and powerful, but they also sound incredibly like those of Bruce Dickenson. Maybe you’ve heard of him. Anyway, the vocal similarities aren’t too extreme so as to distract the listener too much, but I did feel like they overshadowed the guitars a bit in the mix, and it probably would have worked better the other way around. Nevertheless, the band show plenty of fight after the so-so “Heart Of Stone”, which sounds like a poor man’s “2 Minutes to Midnight”. It’s still a competent opening offering, though, and things get better quickly on the fiery “When I Die”. Even when the song doesn’t require particularly dexterous/technically demanding playing, Kurt Fry still injects them with an infectious energy.

The band continue to impress even when slowing down. “The Long Way Home” is a powerful, chorus-driven track that would’ve definitely incited some lighter waving in the crowds back in the day. “Pain” starts off similarly with its soft clean-guitar intro, but picks up speed soon after, charging forth with a MAIDEN-like gallop before smoldering out. Elsewhere, solid if unspectacular offerings like “The Walking Dead” and “Egypt” get by on the strength of their powerful, grooving riffs, while “Don’t Tread On Me” takes more of a working man/ tough-guy approach. The results aren’t spectacular, but Fry still does his name well with some satisfyingly sharp soloing.

On its own merits, “Rapture and Wrath” is a solid release that younger bands with similar sounds would do well to take notes on, as TRAUMA manage to nail down the classic Heavy Metal sound without much in the way of filler. This is 2015, however, and at times “Rapture and Wrath” sounds like it; the production is very 1983 (not an arbitrary number, mind you), and some moments are so good they’ll make you want to…dig up your copies of “Sad Wings of Destiny” or “Powerslave.” All kidding aside, “Rapture and Wrath” is a solid effort made more impressive by the group’s long layoff. I think they could even do better, but we’ll see where they go from here. As of right now, I would definitely recommend it to fans of old school NWOBHM, Hard Rock, and Power Metal.

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Heart Of Stone
2. When I Die
3. The Long Way Home
4. Pain
5. The Walking Dead
6. Kingdom Come
7. Egypt
8. Under The Lights
9. Don’t Tread On Me
10. Too Late
Lineup:
Donny Hillier - Vocals
Kurt Fry - Guitars
Steve Robello - Bass
Kris Gustofson - Drums
Record Label: Pure Steel Records
     


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