Album Reviews

Album Review: Terror – Total Retaliation


Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Hardcore Punk

Release Date: 28/09/2018

I’ll never forget my first stage dive. Nottingham Rescue Rooms, 2012. There I was, a bright eyed 18 year old without a care in the world. An animated Scott Vocal throwing the mic in my face to yell the last verse of ‘Keep Your Mouth Shut’ as he cantered around the stage. I leapt off, ate shit, and legitimately thought I’d broke my wrist. But thinking back to those times always brings a warm fuzzy feeling back to my heart. And for that, Terror will always be one of my favourites.

Fast forward six years and Terror are still frontrunners in a vibrant US hardcore scene. Relentlessly energetic, the LA legends do what they do and they do it bloody well. I’m 24 years old and no elder statesmen by any stretch. But it still feels like a gulf has began to emerge with young bands providing the much needed adrenaline shot hardcore has needed for the past couple of years. While some of the genres’ most establish acts risk being caught napping, Terror release their seventh full length Total Retaliation in the same timeframe as debuts from upstarts Jesus Piece and Leeched. But do they give a shit? Absolutely not.

In fact, the one thing Terror barely get enough recognition for is their willingness to shine a spotlight on the most popular up and comers in the genre. Back in 2012, that gig I mentioned featured Brutality Will Prevail and Broken Teeth, two UK bands still thriving to this day, and proof Terror always keep their ears to the ground. It comes as no surprise that Total Retaliation audaciously swings for the fences. But more importantly, it feels like the most pissed off vocalist Scott Vogel has sounded since the band’s acclaimed debut One With The Underdogs all the way back in 2004.

It’s unquestionable that countless vocalists in the genre tend to tread on the same subject material to the point where eyes start rolling every time some prick shouts ‘betrayal’ for the seventeenth time in a single song. But there’s an unmistakable increase in venom here, and the sincerity in Vogel’s lyrics during the likes of ‘Mental Demolition’ feels convincing enough that he truly means every word he puts to paper.

Terror’s approach is blatantly meat and potatoes, but still one that has bags of life left in it for a band over fifteen years into their career. There’s a couple of lulls worth noting, ‘Post Armageddon Interlude’ as a straight up rap song is utterly jarring at the halfway point of Total Retaliation. More so, ‘Spirit Of Sacrifice’ feels Terror’s usual one-per-album mid tempo sing along anthem, but fails to delivery anywhere near as solidly as the likes of ‘You’re Caught’ from Keepers Of The Faith.  

Don’t get it mistaken, my slight criticism merely highlights the fact that Terror are simply victims of their own success. From their wonderous debut to 2009’s genre defining classic Keepers Of The Faith, Terror have done brilliantly to surpass their own standards so often that others fail miserably when trying to replicate. Total Retaliation very nearly hits the heights of the band at their absolute best, and there’s a solid six tracks here that are bound to slot straight into their already dominant live sets. So if you ever see them live, think back to my pathetic stage dive six years ago, and throw yourselves off in tribute. If it ain’t broke, don’t fucking fix it. Long live Terror.

Total Retaliation will be released 28/09/2018 and is available to order via Nuclear Blast

Rating: 7.5/10

Recommended Tracks: Mental Demolition, In Spite Of These Times


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: