When I hear the phrase LA hardcore in these days, I instantly think of bands like Terror with their muscular, down-tuned, brand of heavy guitar driven songs that basically make the listener feel s as if someone was to grab you by the shirt and shake you while screaming in your face. The hardcore imprint of Thumper Punk Records, has brought us the debut by Rapture as a free ep, straight from LA and they certainly aim to fit that mold of LA hardcore.
Trials certainly starts off on the right track with an ominous bass line quickly joined in by the rest of the band but things get a bit odd when the vocals open up with what sounds like “bleh”. As odd as that sounds, it appears in a different song later as well. Granted, vocal stylings are unique to singers, but I can’t help see this as odd. Most of the songs on this ep unfortunately do follow a formula with fast verse sections broken up by breakdown sections. There’s nothing wrong with this and I get that this is normal in what’s labeled “hardcore” these days, but it does actually take away from the power of the songs when the flow is interrupted.
“Kingdom Crew” gets away from the breakdown sections by inserted some pile on gang vocal moments early on before reverting back to the breakdowns, accompanied by another “bleh” lyric before the song picks back up. In general, the songs tend to blend together as many hardcore albums do and just when a song really gets rolling and shows a chance to be different, a breakdown comes.
Lyrically, Rapture makes it plainly obvious to the listener that they are a Christian band. Song topics range from choosing to live a life of faith to the hardcore standard topic of brotherhood in “Kingdom Crew” where they add a twist to the normal subject by adding in the Christian component in a song that will certainly inspire singalongs.
Overall, the songs are solid, guitar-driven, tough-sounding hardcore, and the ep serves as a good introduction to the band and their sound. Some people criticize bands like AC/DC and Hatebreed for making the same album over and over, and this generic comment is often applied to hardcore, but when you can write catchy songs that people enjoy, it makes no sense to vary from that path. This is breakdown heavy hardcore, so you should know what you’re getting yourself into with this album and set your expectations accordingly.
Written by John Jackson
3. Kingdom Crew
4. Enemy Lines
6. Nothing Else (ft. Joel Muniz of Dynasty)
Richard Haro – Vocals
Tony Rangel – Drums
Garrett Gutierrez – Guitar
Isaac Guerra – Bass
Record Label: On the Attack Records, March 2015