Sound — 7
One never can be too sure how the addition of a new band member will affect musical vision. In the case of Trapt, the amicable departure of guitarist Simon Ormandy didn't result in the band hurrying to take a 180-degree spin on its sound. If anything, new lead guitarist Robb Torres adds a slightly more aggressive sound at times, but it's not enough to cause a stir. And more importantly for the band, it shouldn't alienate them from the radio stations that helped make the quartet a household name in the first place. Trapt excels in writing catchy, easily accessible choruses, and the fourth studio record No Apologies is no exception. It will likely still be too benign for the metal crowd, but Trapt's core fans should connect with the material. The first single Sound Off does represent some of the band's best traits, whether it is the driving opening riff, the infectious chorus, or the anthemic quality to it all. Trapt isn't reinventing the wheel with Sound Off or any of the other 11 tracks on No Apologies, but that initial single still has the capability of being deemed a theme song for, well, any number of TV/sports shows. There is a certain cookie cutter format to No Apologies, and it would be a refreshing change to hear Trapt venture into new territory. On the other hand, if you enjoy tracks that thrive on gain-drenched power chords and choruses that scream for sing-alongs, you'll enjoy what Trapt has created this time around. More than a few songs begin with a mellower, reflective vibe, which eventually builds into the big payoff a monster chorus. This is the case with tracks like The Wind, which represents Trapt at its best and features darker, highly intriguing bridge on top of it all. While Torres does provide some interesting lead work underneath the verses, Trapt could utilize his skills a bit more. So much of the band revolves around Chris Brown's vocal lines that the backing music gets overshadowed at times. But again, Trapt became popular and commercially successful for a specific sound and to shake the boat too much might cause a big chunk of that general public to get scared away.
Lyrics — 8
The band actually chose a fitting title for the record with No Apologies. Time and time again you'll hear the theme of being true to oneself. The rock world is a fickle one particularly where street cred is concerned, so it's easy to appreciate Trapt's message. In the title track the band declares that you should follow your own path (You don't owe anybody anything; Life is yours to live anyway you please; No apologies), while Get Up could be considered a song of inspiration (Get up off the ground; I want to see your heads in the clouds; Get up off the ground; The sky's the only limit we've got now). Trapt could easily take the tired route of spouting anger or alienation, so it's refreshing to hear songs that instill a sense of purpose within the listener.
Overall Impression — 6
No Apologies is your standard Trapt album, although there is riffage that leans toward a more aggressive sound. Torres does a capable job at taking over lead duties, but it's still more about the buildup to the chorus time and again. That's not a bad thing when you have a radio niche, but it's not necessarily going to wow those who haven't jumped on the Trapt bandwagon previously. It's not that one expects Trapt to be the most dangerous rock band out there, but the multiple mellow moments on the album does tend to bring the momentum down a bit too much.