Californian hardcore legends, Terror, are one of the most enduring bands of the last twenty years, but few extreme metal fans realise how much their music crosses over with their tastes. The chances are you know them as the former group of Nails founder, Todd Jones, who produced this latest Terror record and makes an appearance on guitar. Led by hardcore ideologist, Scott Vogel, the quartet are back with their eighth album and as vitriolic as ever. The question is whether you can withstand the brutal onslaught of eighteen minutes spread over ten no-nonsense songs. If you answered no, you’re reading the wrong publication.
Vogel and co have a lot of scores to settle on Pain into Power, including a reaffirmation of their unwavering belief in the hardcore community and ethos. “Together through the hardest truth/ Be here for me, I’m there for you/ Our time to even the score/ Still dedicated to hardcore,” roars Vogel, in the opening title track. Add in a monstrous palm-muted slam riff and the fury of grindcore and you have Terror condensed into fifty-three seconds of superhuman ferocity. You wouldn’t want to be the apostate villain in track number two on the evidence of Vogel’s testosterone-fuelled rage. ‘Unashamed’ might even qualify as sentimental in its Bad Brains-on-steroids approach. “Those days still mean everything to me/ I won’t feel guilty cause you no longer believe,” screams Vogel. The head-spinning Slayer thrash at the end and absence of melody ensure it’s a chest-beating sentimentality for the gritted-teeth brigade.
We all know Slayer’s influence is ubiquitous on beatdown hardcore these days, but a Terror album is more likely to kick sand in your face instead of smearing blood on your forehead. If only all hardcore punk sounded like ‘Outside the Lies’ – violent, unmelodious, and threatening. This is the definition of heavy. ‘One Thousand Lies’ might even rival the more famous ‘A Thousand Lies’ by Machine Head in its intensity and crunch. Robb Flynn always cited Biohazard as an inspiration on his band, and you can hear the Brooklyn bruisers behind the might of Terror as well. Cannibal Corpse frontman, Corpsegrinder, makes an appearance on ‘The Hardest Truth’. It might be punk in spirit, but it’s metal in its execution.
Of course, you can always expect a Terror album to make use of the colossal breakdown riffs that define their genre. The car-crushers on Pain into Power are as violent as ever. The way they deliver the third chorus by introducing a slower version of the original riff in ‘On the Verge of Violence’ reminds you why your metal tastes will find satiation in Terror’s music. The lyrics are just as enthralling: “Racial tension at an all-time high/ Have we learned nothing in these desperate times?/ We hate each other/ ‘cause we hate ourselves.” Imagine this over the top of a chunky groove metal bounce with a Cro-Mags delivery. The person next to you will pick you up off the floor if you extend a hand in the spirit of brotherhood. That’s what it’s about, folks. Liberty. Equality. Fraternity. No shallow consumerism or narcissistic posing here.
You know what you’ll get with Terror, but that makes it no less exciting. The Californian bruisers are kings of their scene and show no signs of stagnation on Pain into Power.
Release Date: 06/05/2022
Record Label: Pure Noise Records
Standout tracks: Unashamed, One Thousand Lies, On the Verge of Violence
Suggested Further Listening: Cage Fight – Cage Fight (2022), Nails – Abandon All Life (2013), Reserving Dirtnaps – Another Disaster (2020)