It’s hard to believe that alternative hard rockers Trapt have been around for over a decade. Most people probably don’t have possessions that old, and yet these California natives still churn out radio anthems year after year.
Originally from Northern California, the Chris Brown-led quartet now make their home in SoCal. Brown and Peter Charell (bass) are the two original remaining members. Aaron “Monty” Montgomery is the band’s third drummer, having replaced Robin Diaz shortly before the band released its self-titled debut in 2000 (David Stege was the original drummer). Robb Torres is the most recent addition, joining the band after original lead guitarist Simon Ormandy left in early 2008.
Lineup changes naturally disrupt a band’s focus and momentum. Luckily the band saw this most recent change as an opportunity to experiment with new ideas. Charell was among those most excited about the prospect: “I think the main thing we wanted to do with this record is grow artistically and defy what people have come to expect from Trapt while still remaining true to ourselves” (press release).
No longer does the band rely on hard riffs or loud manly screams, and instead focuses on smooth melodies. I wouldn’t call the band’s music soft, but it definitely is softer than their previous efforts. Much of Only Through The Pain… takes slightly different direction of “Echo” territory other than their band-defining “Headstrong” and “Still Frame.” While the opening “Wasteland” starts with a hard rock-esque intro, the song slows down one too many times to showcase Brown’s sympathetic tones. It might seem like an anomaly until the following “Who’s Going Home With You Tonight” (see video here) features even more emo-type crooning.
Is that a bad thing? Not really. Would I call Trapt an unmanly band? Perhaps. There are definitely one too many ballads, like the tragedy-striking “Black Rose” as well as this year’s probable airwaves-dominating guys-telling-girls-they-like-it-so-let’s-have-sex “Ready When You Are.”
While it is disappointing to hear Trapt’s not-so-hard-rock-anymore sound, the band’s new tunes are at the least very radio-friendly enjoyable and as Brown likes to describe their music, “there’s candy in it.”