Terror, the LA stalwarts of hardcore, came swinging back with their latest album Total Retaliation. Released back in September, 2018 via Pure Noise, the album deserves a listen from any hardcore fan. And if you listened back when it came out, I’m here to tell you why you should be spinning it again.
The album starts incredibly strong with “This World Never Wanted Me,” a hard rejection of conformity and a triumphant yell of “Thank god this world never wanted me.” Terror do that classic hardcore sound perfectly, encapsulating a genre and exploding out with blistering beatdowns.
The album starts on rejecting the world that doesn’t want them, and keeps a solid concept of a rebellion against humanity. Keeping the basics of hardcore themes, Terror actualize this in an interesting and direct way with describing the world itself as what has become stained and overbearing. But in that they still find retaliation in their determined and anger fueled delivery. Terror have a lot to say on the album, and run through a host of subjects they feel are tearing society apart. In doing so they keep with their central concept, and also manage to use some great wordplay to get across their message clearly but not resort to hamfisted cliche. Tackling issues from authority to religion, Total Retaliation pulls no punches.
On the sonic side of things, of course Terror kills it, heavy rolling drums, deep and always on point bass, and some interesting guitar work which expands but never strays too far from their core sound. Total Retaliation even has a rap interlude, perhaps inspired by the interludes that 90s hip-hop frequently featured though arguably less jokey. There’s something to be said about the comparison between hip-hop and punk music, born from different situations but finding a similar place in rebellion and community. But after just a moment the track is over, and we dive right back into brilliant hardcore with “Spirit of Sacrifice.”
With Total Retaliation the band hasn’t found any massive new ground in their music, but instead have this chaos-controlled feeling with their mastery of the hardcore sound. Always able to flow through vocal inflections and able to so perfectly build a sound that brings anyone right into that local venue feeling the electricity run from the band through the crowd, Terror still remain an important voice in the genre. Terror bring the intensity and determined message only the finest in hardcore can produce, and Total Retaliation is a must listen for fans of the genre.
You can listen to the album below.