Terror – Lowest of the Low

Lowest of the Low

Recently, the genre of hardcore has seen an emphasis placed on style over substance. With the addition of each new fashion-oriented band, the further the genre moves toward the mainstream. This increased glossy and corporate influence on hardcore has produced a slough of groups more about “rocking out” than any sort of intrinsic motivation or agenda. This trend has many true-blue fans worried. After all, hardcore is a style of music that, at its core, is much different than any other-particularly in terms of catharsis and political fury. By taking away its edge, the music loses its vital qualities. With that said, fans should not completely give up hope – especially when veterans like Scott Vogel are around to keep things interesting.
Vogel’s new outfit, Terror, comes on the heels of one of the most influential careers in hardcore since the mid 90s. His previous bands – Despair and Buried Alive – provided a link between two eras of hardcore combined by their utilization of traditional fast-paced roots and the modern metal tinged, mosh-fueled furor of recent years. Though neither band centered around politics, both exuded a feeling of frustration with society and a no-holds barred love for hardcore. Like Vogel’s other bands, Terror continues on these musical customs. However, as intense as these other groups were, Terror provides a walloping punch of power that makes these other projects pale in comparison. Case in point – the band’s Bridge Nine debut, Lowest of the Low.
In terms of lyrics, Vogel continues to plow down the path of societal and scene frustration. Though this may be standard ground for those familiar with his past work, fans may be in for a few surprises. Vogel’s lyrical banter has grown progressively furious and frenetic, proving his veteran eyes have witnessed their share of heartbreaks, ruinations and setbacks. For example, “Better Off Without You” is from Vogel’s traditional lyric palate – you know, backstabbing, scene politics, and the like. But this new material has something more streamlined underneath the surface. Somehow he has achieved a sense of confidence in his anger and, with the combination of frenzied verses and jaw-dropping breakdowns, this project suits him better than any other.
Musically, Terror rips faster and riffs louder than nearly any band in hardcore at present. While the group may not be as “tech-metal” sounding as some of its brethren, its intensity blisters with a combination of Sick of it All’s cheetah-like speed and Buried Alive’s bruising choruses. A couple of prime examples are “Nothing to Me” and “Life and Death.” Complete with the formula just mentioned, these two tracks – along with everything else on this record – are awe inspiring, un-calibrated doses of fist pumping fury.
The most important aspect of this band is its ability to remain imbedded firmly in a hardcore aesthetic without using pomp and circumstance to do so. From the low-budget lyric booklet to the stripped down power of the sound, the band does not let any outside influences affect the impact of their crunch.
Even though hardcore may be a world away from where it used to exist, Terror’s debut reminds fans there are still groups out there that carry hardcore in their heart and soul no matter what the incarnation develops to be. In this case, Terror makes a case for being the most brutal and energetic band currently taking part in the movement.