Trauma - As The World Dies

Trauma is a San Francisco, California based thrash/heavy metal band formed back in 1981. In their "Demo I" (1982) the bass player was Cliff Burton, just before he joined Metallica in late 1982. Trauma released a full length entitled "Scratch And Scream" (1984), then "Demo 2" the same year, and after that they split up to reunite in 2013 when their label Shrapnel Records asked them to support the reissue of the "Scratch And Scream" album. After the reunion they released the albums "Rapture And Wrath" (2015) and "As The World Dies" is their 3rd full length.

The line up features original vocalist Donny Hillier, Kris Gustofson on drums since 1982, Steve Robello (Dublin Death Patrol) and Joe Fraulob (ex-Danzig) on guitars, plus Greg Christian (ex-Testament and auditioned for Metallica in 1986 as a replacement for Cliff Burton) on bass.

Does this sound to you like an all star band playing some memorabilia stuff?
Trauma offer a fuckin' amazing album of pure thrash/heavy metal in honor to their roots and legacy!
Everything about this album is top class!

Having surpassed the Bay Area etiquette and with the aforementioned great roster on board the band feels free to perform the music they desire. And that is pure thrash/heavy metal! There are some speed metal moments and some power metal vocal lines, but overall this is a classic thrash/heavy metal album! The riffs will appeal to fans of bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Accept or Dio but also to fans of thrash bands like Testament, Overkill, (old) Metallica and Exodus.

The guitar players do offer thick and solid result with a production you can listen in the latest Judas Priest works. The lead and acoustic guitars create sweet harmonies. The rhythm section is cement thick and steady. Special reference has to be done for the magnificent vocals of Donny Hillier. They immediately give the chills. They underline the 80's roots of the band, yet they are very fresh. It's a pity this voice remained out of discography for so many years and I am excited he is back for good!

The album starts off with guitar harmonics that soon progress to an acoustic intro and some lead guitar harmonies just before a killer riff breaks! Oh my God, this is epic! 'The Rage' reminds me of a bastard mixture of Diamond Head with old american heavy metal. The vocals are epic "I Feel The Rage..."

'From Here To Hell' is probably one of the best songs of the album having old school vibe and Rob Halford vocal references. The basic riff could have been in "Ride The Lightning"! So classy! Excellent work in the second vocals and harmonies once again. And the chorus is an Iron Maiden worship. The bridge break before the solo is magnificent and is repeated after the guitar solo. There is an overall touch of "classic" in this song! 'As the World Dies' begins with a slow intro and then the melodic line hits the first verse with acoustic/clean guitars soon to change to a heavy/thrash collosus! The acoustic/clean parts brought me to mind 90's bands like Alice In Chains but the result is still classic heavy/thrash.

'Gun To Your Head' is exactly what the title says. A violent attack with a rhythmic basis as if from Pantera's "Cowboys From Hell", yet freshly delivered. Heavy metal that I need to listen to live! In 'Last Rites' things slow down a bit. The vocals remind me here of the powerful ways Bruce Dickinson sings. Probably one of the best moments of the album. And another classic song to underline that heavy metal will never die!

After another great acoustic intro, 'Run For Cover' attacks with the drums taking the leading role and some riffs that could have been played in the 80's golden era of heavy metal. The singalong chorus is enough to shake every venue in the known universe! It is amazing how Trauma decorate every single part of their songs paying attention to the detail. A harmony, an alternate picking, a solo, an acoustic part, a vocal harmony may be enough to lift off a song!

'Asylum' intro riff is twisted as it should according to the title. Another good song that captures the essence of its lyrics and drape it with real heavy metal. 'Entropy' pleasantly surprises the listener with its changes from slower to faster parts and back again. 'Cool Aid' fastens the pace again to thrashier paths. The groove of the backing vocals here is excellent.

The closing song 'Savage' has a great "Master Of Puppets" era riffing with excellent subharmonies and a really huge bass work! The lead is another classic and I love the 80's aura in it! The melodic chorus left me but singing it to my head after the album had already ended.

"As The World Dies" is a perfectly balanced album between New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, classic heavy metal, old thrash metal and the modern hard rock/heavy sound (the production could remind you bands like Velvet Revolver or Alice In Chains). Yet the result is very fresh! And that's Trauma's (and their producer's) success here. They deliver a fresh air to a genre that could have easily sounded vintage/old.

I don't know what this band could have achieved if they weren't on hiatus for so many years, but all I know is keeping their profile low they give us some serious seminars on how heavy/thrash should be performed today!


1. The Rage
2. From Here To Hell
3. As The World Dies
4. Gun To Your Head
5. Last Rights
6. Run For Cover
7. Asylum
8. Entropy
9. Cool Aid
10. Savage