Review Summary: Unfortunately, if you don't like the band Trapt up to this point, you probably still won't after listening to this album.
Any football loving American born between 1983 and 1989 knows what a Trapt song is. You know…that one band that writes overly simple – yet overly catchy fight songs that get stuck in your head for days and days? We all know that band. Back then (about ten years ago), Nu-Metal seemed to be shifting more towards the alternative side of its roots as bands like Trapt, Breaking Benjamin and Stone Sour were beginning to surface and drown out heavier bands like Korn, Deftones, Tool and Slipknot. I am personally indifferent either way; I listen to BOTH the heavy and pop stuff. However, Trapt was one of those bands that I latched onto as a kid because they had a very distinct sound and structure that just impressed me. Their second album, “Someone in Control,” was released my freshman year in college and it blew me away with how much of a grow-up album it really was. I just loved songs like Lost Realist and Disconnected – EVEN AFTER laughing at Headstrong and Echo for being overrated. Since then, I’ve been very kind towards Trapt. I think they have a lot of potential. For fans of the band, like me, their sound has stuck with us (and ESPN) - and it’s hard to not think of those years between age 12 and 17 when we hear Brown's highly recognizable voice.
So, here I am at age 23, by now basically estranged from the Nu-Metal genre I once embraced…and here’s Trapt with a new album/ soundtrack for ESPN. I like-ish it.
“No Apologies” is like the Paul Greengrass movie made about Trapt’s career. It looks and feels like the Trapt we love and hate, but it all feels VERY romanticized. Everything is blown way out of proportion. First of all, nearly EVERY track is a hard hitting fight song. Sound Off, Overloaded and Get Up sound just like those catchy songs we loved back in 2001. Sound Off is like Headstrong as it is probably the catchiest song on the album. Overloaded and No Apologies are also a bit like Still Frame and These Walls with their anthemic lyrics and melodic choruses.
The guitars on this record are comprised of heavy full-gain titan chord progressions that make your ears bleed. Every song is energetic and full of fury as Chris Taylor Brown spills his most upbeat lyrics yet. The excitement is so high, in fact, that when he does try to say something deep and profound, it comes off a bit silly. For example, Stranger in the Mirror is a cool song with a cool sound - but its simple lyrics are almost corny considering the surrounding upbeat tracks. I was also not impressed with its chorus that dares to halt the intense rhythm under the verses. Get Up is also a lot of fun, but it’s campy with lyrics like “Get up/get off the ground/ the sky’s the only limit for you now.” It’s for the kids. That’s not a bad thing - it’s just that most people my age might be looking for more. Beautiful Scar and Are You With Me are also sweet, but they are more or less fillers. Nothing on this album really sucks. Again, you either like Trapt, or you don’t.
On the other hand, End of My Rope, The Wind, Head Up High and Overloaded are very well written and produced songs. No Apologies is a very strong song as well - as it takes a much softer and melodic approach. It’s no Lost Realist, but it’s definitely better than Black Rose and Contagious. It’s Trapt’s version of the song Until the End by Breaking Benjamin. I was also very impressed by Drama Queen which had the best guitar performance on the album. All in all, if you like this kind of upbeat commercial rock that you can listen to in the weight room, then this is the album for you. If you’re expecting depth and a little more emotion, you might be let down. Just know that what IS good on this album is redoubtable to most of the popular stuff in the genre today. Admittedly, I’m sad that this album is probably aimed a little more at the kids, but that is a good thing, too. There’s no profanity or grim topics discussed - it is just a fun and motivating hard rock romp.