Real life or the Rock 'n' Roll world? Hundreds of kids across America face that decision every year. High school graduation arrives and the band is going good. The songs are coming and the gigs are getting better. Just stay the course a little bit longer (like three to five years) and who knows? Platinium records and mega tours. But wait. Parents, grandparents, teachers and even total strangers are saying forget the group, go to college and get an education. Get an education? What have the last twelve years been all about?
The Los Gatos, CA trio of vocalist/guitarist Chris Brown, lead guitarist Simon Ormandy and bassist Peter Charell tried to go to college and be in a group, even though they were going to different schools nearly one-hundred miles apart. Though the group managed to record and get a label interested (the deal eventually fell apart), they finally had to bite the bullet. All three quit school and moved to L.A. Another record deal came and went due to creative differences.
With Seattle native Aaron Montgomery on drums Trapt played an L.A. showcase and got signed by Warner Bros. Soon they were recording in Vancouver with producer Garth Richardson. Trapt's self-titled full-length debut hit in '03 with the edgy yet melodic "Headstrong" leading the way. Two years later, Trapt returned to the studio, this time with producer Don Gilmore (Linkin Park, Pearl Jam) - success brings access to heavyweight talent - to record "Someone In Control."
Of the three singles from the album - "Stand Up," "Waiting" and "Disconnected (Out Of Touch)" - "Stand Up" did the best climbing to #3 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock chart.
'07's "Trapt Live!" featured two new tracks - "Stay Alive" and "Everything To Lose" - in addition to nine songs from the group's catalog. But that year also saw Ormandy's departure. Robb Torres, Ormandy's replacement, made his full-length debut on '08's "Only Through The Pain." To promote the album, Trapt signed on for Motley Crue's Crue Fest with Buckcherry and Papa Roach.
Like countless other bands trying to get themselves heard in an increasingly difficult market Trapt went the game route. "Who's Going Home with You Tonight?," the lead single from the group's '08 set "Only Through The Pain," which had previously been available on the band's website, was also downloadable for the Rock Band video game. The second single, "Contagious," was the title of the band's '09 headlining trek (Contagious Tour) and became a free playable track on iPhone's Tap Tap Revenge 2 game.
Trapt issued "No Apologies" in '10. The Johnny K. produced album, featuring the single "Sound Off," made its debut at #25 on the Billboard Album chart.
2005 Someone In Control
2007 Trapt Live!
2008 Only Through The Pain
2010 No Apologies
Trapt is an excellent 'post' band. Namely it's a band that started after a particular trend (Punk, Grunge, Nu Metal, etc.) had peaked but maintained the signature elements. In this case it's post-Grunge.
As "Headstrong," the first single from the debut album demonstrates, Trapt can kick but the group has more texture and variety than most thrashers. "Made Of Glass" features a catchy syncopated rhythm while "Hollowman" rides cadenced vocals. Even the airy and listener friendly "These Walls" packs a punch.
"Someone In Control" provides the expected harsh blasts, angry vocals ("face to face push you in your place" from "Stand Up") and an unforgiving heaviness. But the album takes a lighter, faster turn on songs "Lost Realist" and "Influence." Interestingly, because this doesn't happen too often, the album ends strong with a pair of killer tracks "Use Me To Use You" and "Product Of My Own Design."
Trapt master the power ballad on "Only Through The Pain." Following the sneering "Wasteland" and the melodic uptempo singles "Who's Going Home With You Tonight?" and "Contagious," Trapt rolls out "Black Rose" and "Ready When You Are," a song that could pass for an '80's Poison ballad. "Only One In Color" and the seemingly obligatory closing ballad, "The Last Tear" illustrate the band's song craft expertise. But getting back to the action, "Wherever She Goes" is a lean, romantic track in the "Contagious" model. "Forget About The Rain" and "Curiosity Kills" travel down the band's familiar road but do it well.
With a title like "Only Through The Pain" a listener could expect a tormented set but it's not that. Sure there's "Wasteland" and "The Last Tear" but the harshly critical "Cover Up" is really the only song that lives up to the title.
The usual post-Grunge torment is present on "No Apologies" but it's kept in check as the band's melodic instincts keep the songs sharp and focused. Brown's vocal urgency drives "Sound Off" and he rides the riff on "End Of My Rope," two key tracks on "No Apologies." There's also the surprisingly motivational "Get Up" and the "extreme" "Drama Queen."