Chris Brown - vocals, guitar
Simon Ormandy - guitar
Pete Charell - bass
Aaron "Monty" Montgomery - drums
After the release of the single "Headstrong" a few years ago, I went ahead and bought Trapt's first CD, which was self-titled. Overall, I thought it was a good CD, but it wasn't one of my favorites. So it was kindof just there in my CD case.
Then I heard the single "Stand Up". The first time I ever heard it was on my mom's computer, which for some reason plays songs extremely fast, making any guitar sound amazing, although the lyrics get a little squeaky. But hearing that opening, I just immediately stopped everything I was doing and just sat there banging my head with a wide smile on my face.
Later, I heard the song again on the radio, and was disappointed that the opening riff wasn't as awesome as it had been earlier, but much more impressed with the vocals and lyrics. So Trapt was on the radar for me again.
About a week after that, one of my friends offered me a ticket to a concert which Trapt was headlining, but which also featured Blindside. Just because Blindside is one of my favorite bands live, I decided to go see it. Plus it was free. So I went. Blindside was amazing. But Trapt simply blew me away. The passion with which they played and sang just completely enthralled me, and though my friends had to leave after their set was about half-way over, I wasn't about to leave that show.
I immediately went and bought this album, "Someone In Control", and listened to it, and it alone, for about 3 weeks. And I still am not tired of it.
Anyways, now for some background about Trapt. Trapt was formed in 1995 in Los Gatos, California, and somehow managed to avoid the whole pop-rock-punk scene out there. In no way can they be classified as pop or punk. Lead singer Chris Brown was absolutely dedicated to the music, making the band play shows all through high school and college, and eventually dropping out of college, hoping to catch a break. Soon, they signed with Warner Bros and released "Trapt", which included the singles "Headstrong", "Still Frame", and "Echo". "Headstrong" is a powerful song about the way the band is, and how they got to where they are, and really characterizes the band.
They were immediately popular thanks to the 7-string guitar of Simon, at times heavy and driving and at times other melodic and ethereal, the open-hearted vocals of and the distinct influences of Pete on the bass and Monty on the drums. All these factors combine in "Someone In Control" to make, as they put it "every part of every song memorable".
Trapt stands out by being a hard rock band that sings mostly positive songs. Personally, I am sick of bands that just complain about how their life sucks, and all the troubles with their girlfriend and parents, boohoohooo. This band sings about a wide variety of topics, not like the metal bands singing about dragons and such, but finding ways to infuse their songs with positiveness. Their songs don't bring you down, they build you up.
Here are the ratings I would give to the songs on this CD, as well as a summary of each:
1) Disconnected (Out of Touch): Song starts slow, then picks up with a pretty nice heavy riff. The chorus is very catchy, talking about how he is disconnected from his life, "going through the motions again", waiting for the cycle to end. The third verse slows down again, going into some repeating lyrics, before it picks up again into that nice heavy intro riff/pre-chorus. 5/5
2) Waiting: Nice guitar during the verse doing some piccking as opposed to chord strumming. The their usual technique of the intro as pre-chorus. The chorus is not as heavy as others on the CD, but is much more, I don't know, kind of in a longing kind of voice, and you can kindof relate to the feelings. I really like the guitar in the third verse. 5/5
3) Victim: Very slow, down tempo start, which doesn't pick up until the pre-chorus, which has some really nice head-banging guitar and drums. The chorus is very simple, not particularly impressive. The third verse slows down again some more, with some simple stuff, before the heavy pre-chorus, with some distorted guitar, after Chris screams, which builds momentum and feeling again for the chorus. This song has a nice heavy ending with the pre-chorus riff again. 5/5
4) Stand Up: As I said earlier, I love the into of this song, especially cool since it's played on the 7th string (B) on Simon's guitar. Some very nice bass and guitar in the verse, and then the mighty intro/pre-chorus. Very heavy. Great catchy chorus, very powerful. I've sung the praises of this song in this review, but truly it is one of my favorite songs of all time. If you need something to get your blood pumping, this is it. 5/5
5) Lost Realist: This song is the least metal on the CD, and yet it is one of my favorites. It shows a lot of Trapt's diversity. The lyrics are very good. Deeply touching and emotional. Really representing the theme of this CD of not truly being in control of your life, not having the choices, and having to question "Will the dice ever roll?". The only knock on this song is the corny-ish third verse lyrics "I only keep what I give away". Aside from that, a worthy listen. 5/5
6) Skin Deep: My favorite song on this CD. The intro, I can't say why, just has something special that I've never heard elsewhere, that just makes me overwhelmingly happy. I guess its something about knowing how the song reveals some of the wrongs of society, what with all the judgmental behavior, and deciding to like someone based only on their appearance. This song is something everyone can relate to and think about. But not only that, you can truly enjoy. I particularly like the lyrics "So fill the empty space, with another pretty face". The outro is also very nice. 5/5
7) Influence: Trapt does their whole heavy intro, soft verse, intro as pre-chorus thing, but that works for them. And then just listen to the chorus:
"You always feel so unknown, the real you is never shown, who's influence are you under now? So much pressure to fit in, you never know where to begin, whose influence are you under now?"
Who doesn't relate to that? That touches me deeply. More questioning on the way society is on the same kind of level as "Skin Deep". 5/5
8) Repeat Offender: A different sound, because it is strumming, but with an odd rythm, and no initial power chords. Picks up as usual in the pre-chorus, again talking about being an outsider, saying "Feel there is nowhere that I fit". It takes the point of view of "the man" for a short bit, saying "You have my word, there are only lies my sincerity". Now isn't that ultra-irony great? A great heavy outro makes a fitting end to this song that is all irony and disguised anger at the state of things in society. 4/5
9) Bleed Like Me: I don't really understand the chorus, which asks, "I search for the one who bleeds like me". It just doesn't hit. Neither do the rest of the lyrics, except for the preverse which asks "can you tell that I pick my poison well?" However, there's some very good melodic guitar in the verses, and some nice wah-ed out guitar on the third verse. 4/5
10) Use Me to Use You: Very impressive guitar once the drums and distortion kick in, and which continues palm-muted into the verse. This is a much more up-tempo song, which actually doesn't use the intro as the pre-chorus!. The chorus itself doesn't really hit it with me lyrics-wise, repeating "I know that you use me to use you". Simon does some nice solo stuff to round out the song, which he should do more, since I've seen him really bust out live. 4/5
11) Product of My Own Design: I love the singing in the chorus. The lyrics are okay, but the way its sung, accompanied by the guitar, drums, and bass, just grabs me. The heavy riff that serves as pre-verse is one of the better ones on the CD. I like the stuff Simon does to round out the verse, going in some new places compared to the rest of the CD. The end the song with the heavy riff, which is nice, but they let it drag out a little and end the song with the last note fading off. They could've done a little better on that. 4/5
Overall, this album is amazing, which is somewhat surprising since these days a lot of the badns that pop up on the scenes just fade off after their first CD, with lackluster sophomore releases. One-hit wonder you'd say. This is not the case for Trapt, who's second release is much better than the first in my opinion.
I'd recommend, if you were just gonna sample Trapt, to try "Stand Up", "Lost Realist", and "Skin Deep".
Hope you enjoyed, I look forward to your comments.