Sound — 5
If you asked lead singer Chris Taylor Brown about the meaning behind Trapt, he would tell you about how he and a few friends from high school felt trapped within the confines of society and the pressure to conform. However, after over 15 years, their latest effort "Reborn" shows the name better represents a band trapped by their own basic premise and unwillingness to break the mold. This is proven from the get-go with "Bring It". Starting with a synthetic intro, any hope for innovation dissipates when the song quickly devolves in to exactly what you'd expect from the band, serving as little more than the latest installment in the band's never-ending line of sequels to "Headstrong". Things don't get much better as the album goes on, with most songs sounding fairly similar to each other; following the same structure, with similar sound and timing. An odd thing about "Reborn" is that it seems torn in different directions. The guitar tones and riffs scream stadium rock, while Brown's melodies lean on the side of 90's Alternative. The two hardly mix well, and end up giving the album a somewhat awkward mesh of influences, its dissonance taking away from the flow of the songs at times. This is easiest to see in "Eye Of The Storm" and "Too Close", songs that were rebuilt to better fir with Trapt after being released by Brown in 2010 as solo tracks. Production quality is also a problem, mostly in guitar tones. Honestly, one would expect a bigger sound from a band like Trapt; instead, the songs on "Reborn" sound like demos made on Garage Band. This may be more of a personal nitpick than a legitimate complaint, but compared to the dynamic, crunching tones of "No Apologies", this just seems cheaply produced.
Lyrics — 4
Lyrically, Brown has never been weaker. Any form of inspiration or originality has been stripped in order to appeal to the lowest common denominator. The ideas behind tracks are old and withered, and the thought process put in to their execution is nothing short of minimal. Full of cliches, songs like "Love Hate Relationship" tend to wear quickly on those who crave something deeper, having grown used to hearing more from the band than simple complaints about sex being dangled in front of them like a dog's favorite chew toy. Meanwhile, other songs such as "Strength In Numbers" rank among some of the band's worst to date, with lyrics like "We've got to open our eyes/And use that mob mentality/Against that public enemy (Number one)" coming off as so bland that you could probably find something more heartfelt in the sophomore scribblings of half this site's userbase. The most painful part, though, is that we know that Brown is capable of so much more. The deluxe edition of the album features the track "Avelyn", a b-side that has been floating around for years, finally given a proper release due to fan request. The lyrics in this song are heartfelt, packed with more genuine emotion than the rest of the album combined. Songs like these showcase Brown's true ability, and when compared to anything else on "Reborn", one has to wonder where that ability went, and what this band would be capable of if they put effort in to maintaining it.
Overall Impression — 4
In 2005's "Lost Realist", singer Brown begged to know "will the plot ever twist or will I still resist?" It's been 8 years since then, and the only real twist is how threateningly dull the band has become. Their fangs have been dulled, their heads have been bloated, and their talent has been sapped, leaving the band in a place that has them putting out the most generic material of their career. Unfortunately, due to the minor, yet notable success this cookie cutter drivel will bring them, one shouldn't expect anything more than what "Reborn" has to offer in the foreseeable future, a truly saddening fact to those who fell in love with the powerful musicianship and promising ability that the band once displayed.