Terror - Total Retaliation (Cover Artwork)


Total Retaliation (2018)

pure noise

Hardcore mainstays Terror are back with their seventh, yes seventh, full-length album. That’s impressive for any band, especially in the hardcore genre. Total Retaliation is their first LP on Pure Noise Records, and shows the band doing what they do best. The record is venomous, heavy, aggressive, and well-produced.

The record opens with a pounding mid-tempo guitar riff that sets the pace for the entire LP. Soon thereafter, Vogel's now-trademark guttural scream jumps to the front of the song, complemented by crashing cymbals and drums. The song, “This World Never Wanted Me,” is a great opener for a few reasons. First, it is trademark Terror and does well in showing a new fan what to expect. Second, the track’s mid-tempo rhythm throughout shows a bit of a refined but thrashier side to Terror’s sound.

“One More Enemy,” the record’s fourth song, is another standout that’s sure to be a live favorite. The vocal patterns are repetitive and beg for sing-alongs. It’s a faster paced song than others, and it grooves with thudding drum-work and tightly-woven guitar chugs that lead into a bass-driven breakdown to end the track. While this may be what we’ve always gotten from Terror, it’s worth noting that Wil Putney’s production skills shine through here. The polish he adds to songs like “One More Enemy” succeeds in focusing the aggression in Terror’s music. While it’s often that slick production can detract from a band’s aggressive tone, Putney manages to maintain that for Terror.

The LP’s closer, “Resistant to the Changes,” might also be its strongest song. The layering of rhythm guitars in the opening of the song, while not necessarily intricate, gives the song an extremely full sound. The choppiness in some of the drum fills is similarly dynamic, and is a great complement to the rest of the music. The lyrical content here is subtly positive and introspective, serving to elevate the choral chants the balance out Vogel’s uber-aggressive delivery. The abrupt ending also contributes to the song’s strength. Vogel screams to the end. The guitars chug to an abrupt close. And Total Retaliation is over with a sudden stop.

Total Retaliation is a dynamic and exceptional record. It is classic Terror. But it is also a Terror that seems to be reacting to the current cultural climate. It feels reactionary in both an outwardly antagonistic and introspectively thoughtful sense. But what I like most about Total Retaliation is that it’s a great record for those younger hardcore fans who are just getting into the genre.