If there's anything you should expect from the modern hardcore music scene, it's that whatever the point is that needs to be gotten to, it will be gotten to with very little in the way of ceremony. In a genre where bells and whistles are considered a gaudy, gilt-edged luxury, Los Angeles pit masters Terror have an earned reputation for their vice-like grip of the fundamentals and a predilection for not messing around.
But with an unprecedented eighth album under their belts (unprecedented for the hardcore genre, anyway), there are plenty who will be wondering what new tricks the old dogs need to learn to stay relevant and interesting in the current climate. They needn't have worried. Terror have been answering those questions with pummeling, no nonsense music for the better part of a decade and their latest effort, Pain Into Power, is no less than pure, unadulterated hardcore dialed up to eleven and a half.
In fact, it's testament to the heavy, unrelenting essence of the sound that Terror produce that the album opener and title track "Pain Into Power" only needs fifty three seconds to fully set the tone for the rest of the record. Then the trend is locked in and each song continues to barrel into the next with zero time to take a breath, with tracks like "Boundless Contempt" punching first and asking questions never, while "Outside The Lies" is a battering ram that takes aim at those who sow doubt and fear with an aim to destroy them completely.
The metal elements are unabashedly front and center and on full display throughout, but all that hardcore goodness has no need to fight for space when they work so well together. The breakdown in "Can't Let It Go" is a brilliantly devastating example of the two genres exchanging a meaty handshake, while the familiar growls of George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher of Cannibal Corpse add a crushing dimension to the already punishing "Can't Help But Hate".
Scott Vogel remains a behemoth behind the mic, his roars of frustration, defiance and pain complemented not only by a band who are at the peak of their powers together, but also by a host of guest vocalists. "Unashamed" will introduce a lot of people to Madison Watkins and Crystal Pak, of "Year of the Knife" and "Initiate" respectively, two of hardcore's most exciting up and comers who lend their brutal vocals to an already pounding wall of sound. Former guitarist turned producer Todd Jones lends his voice to the excellent track "The Hardest Truth," while his other touches throughout the album prove that his and Vogel's creative edge has not been dulled by the time spent apart outside the studio.
Make no mistake, Terror are still the undisputed kings of the hardcore scene. Pain Into Power isn't a long journey; at the now almost expected scant twenty minutes or so, Terror usually has little excuse not to kick the faces off our skulls in an efficient manner, musically speaking. But what they've come up with does just that. It's relentless, bone-snapping stuff that flattens everything around it just as indiscriminately as ever, but never compromises on its messages for the sake of piling on more aggression, that bane of modern hardcore. There's little else to say, except that is a must listen.