By Theron Moore
If you’re a metal fan – a true metal fan – you’ll recognize the name TRAUMA as Cliff Burton’s former band pre-METALLICA and if you don’t know who Cliff Burton is, well, you’re probably a country fan. Yee haw. The current lineup of TRAUMA features Brian Allen - Vocals, Steve Robello - Guitars, Joe Fraulob - Guitars, Greg Christian - Bass, and Kris Gustofson - Drums. You may recognize Greg Christian’s name, a former founding member of the band TESTAMENT. He’s now ex-TRAUMA, as of August of 2022. “Awakening” is TRAUMA’s second record to date. So how does it stack up? Horns up or horns down?
“Awakening” is middle of the road so it’s horns down for me. It’s neither bad nor good, it’s average and that’s being kind. For the NFL fan base out there, if “Awakening” was a quarterback, it’d be a backup quarterback. The music is fine, the vocals are fine, but nothing attention getting. There’s a melodic component to “Awakening” which tends to divert the heaviness quotient away from the songs. Track six, “Burn,” might be the best and heaviest song on the record because the melodic aspect doesn’t derail it. Lastly, there’s a “cartoony” feeling to songs like “Meat” and “Voodoo” which subtracts from the album as a whole.
The takeaway from TRAUMA’s “Awakening” is that it feels like an attempt to mix old school thrash with modern rock radio metal but never quite hits the mark or establishes a musical identity for the band. At times it sounds generic and retread. There’s a few shining moments of solid metal, what this band should be like, but not enough to save it. Stream a few songs and make up your own mind but “Awakening” is anything but what the title implies: It’s a coma.