Sound — 8
"Reborn" is Trapt's fifth album. It is also the first to use drummer Dylan Howard and the last to use lead guitarist Rob Torres, who has been replaced by Travis Miguel. The album is slightly over forty minutes long and contains eleven tracks.
Referring to the new album, singer Chris Taylor Brown said that, "This record is really a new sound for Trapt. With 'Reborn' we really wanted to use new sounds and textures as well as experiment with delays, reverbs, synths and many other techniques we have learned over the years or have heard in our influences."
In truth, all of these techniques are used, but usually in the intros that are fairly short and break into the main riff of the song, usually without warning. These effects are also slightly used to add texture to the verses, which usually contain the soft, clean, arpeggios that feel standard nowadays.
Compared to other Trapt albums, I think that "Reborn" is richer in memorable riffs but lacking in the infectious choruses that usually define Trapt. Of course, the songs are all still geared around the choruses and Trapt attempts for the choruses to be catchy, but they seldom are in comparison to their other albums and I don't predict that any of the songs will match the success of "Headstrong".
That being said, the album relies on post-grunge/hard rock riffs to define the songs. I would not define any of their riffs as alternative metal or any type of metal for that matter, though others sometimes describe them that way. Most of the time, they are standard three power chord riffs, but at other times they get more interesting, like on "Strength In Numbers" and "When It Rains" and "Livewire". While the riffs on this album are not groundbreaking, I can easily head-bang to them and they, along with the odd intros, are mixed well. In fact, the riffs alone would make great fodder for a live show. The main riffs would also provide great rhythms with which to phrase solos around. However, to my dismay, there are basically no guitar solos on this album.
There are stray synths and pianos on the album, but the riffs are really center stage, backed up by drums that are simple, yet effective in making the point.
Lyrics — 5
Now as to "making the point", I cannot really take them seriously. Most of the time, the riffs infer a party vibe which make me not want to car e about the seriousness of the lyrics. I don't really believe that Trapt is revered because of the complexity or meaning behind their lyrics, but they do try to make points here and there.
For me, the lyrics just serve as melodies that lead up to the choruses, the focal points of each song. The few lyrics in the chorus are the only important ones because they are the ones that you're supposed to sing along with.
Honestly, it is not that the lyrics are a fallacy or anything of the like; it's just that the way the sound of the music is layered, I don't feel a need to pay attention to the lyrics and believe that they are meaningful. This characteristic is more or less of a compliment because I am paying attention to the melodies and beats and rhythms that keep enough variety between songs to keep them interesting. Again, nothing revolutionary, but certainly fun.
In terms of vocal performance, Chris Taylor Brown does an average job on this album. This is the part of the album that is definitely alternative and nu in genre, though sometimes pushing the boundary into hard rock, like on "Going Under" and "Livewire".
Overall Impression — 7
In total, this album may stray slightly from Trapt's status quo but it is plain, average in reality. The riffs define the majority of the songs as opposed to the choruses, which is a change that I favor. On a first listen, the songs seem the same due to the constant tone throughout the album in every aspect; instruments, vocals, and feel. On later listens, the songs define themselves, but the variety is most evident in the differing parts of each song, rather than how each song differs from each other.