HeadTrip Trauma is an up and coming band in the nu-metal scene, and fans are not ready to hear what they’ve been up to. The band leaves a major stamp in the nu-metal scene with the release of their debut album, Side Effects. The songs off this album will take listeners on a journey of new and unique sounds that help keep this genre alive. The band has already given their fans a taste of this music with the releases of a few songs, and the latest additions that can be heard hit just as hard.
The band’s vocalist, Peter Diani, excels greatly throughout this project. Listeners will have the chance to hear a vast range of screaming and growling vocals that are raw, authentic, and something new to the community. There’s even a feature of some clean vocals. Diani’s sound is what helps give this project that cut throat edge fans of this genre will praise for years. Showcasing this much talent on the first record is something that is greatly appreciated, and it’s certain that this vocalist will to grow to new heights as he continues his musical profession.
The instrumentalists of this band also carry great skills. Jason Harris (guitarist) and Zeb Page (bassist) bring some sick shredding and high-speed chord progression to the table. Their transitioning portrayed is intense, and favorable in this scene. The band’s drummer, Zekel Wilkerson, never misses a beat. His presence allows for the music to have a high-beating pulse that will leave fans energized and rocking out to some great music. Being a nu-metal band, there’s the obvious influences of legends (Slipknot, Disturbed, etc.), but these musicians do an outstanding job at writing and producing music that is distinctive to themselves. It’s definitely impressive, and I can’t wait to see how far all members will grow in the future.
Lyrically, the band comes in strong, bringing deep and emotionally wrenching words that will take the listeners on one hell of a ride. Listeners are able to hear songs about disloyalty, revenge, confidence, and more. Not only that, but the content matter is rather personal to the band. Writing lyrics that carry a deep, personal connection brings a new aspect to the music. Not only does it make it authentic and unique to the band, it also allows for listeners to connect with them as well. These lyrics are wonderfully belted out by Diani, and allow for these words to come to life in an aggressive way that leave fans wanting more.
TRACK BY TRACK
The ambient intro to Side Effects is insane. The synth and beat to it puts the listener right in the middle of a horror film-like setting, and really works well for the overall album. The intro track is a bit long, being over two minutes, but it’s eeriness is what makes it brilliant. You could get lost for hours on this track. I know I had it on repeat for a while. Not only that, but this perfectly opens a door for the hard-hitting music that is to come.
The next three tracks are all pre-releases that fans have already gotten to hear. The first, “HeadTrip,” is a great symbol track for the band. It allows for the meaning behind the band’s formation to take a new form, and that’s something that is important. It breathes the confidence of this band and the music they are making, and how they’re doing it in their own individual ways. How Diani expresses the lyrics is great. Listeners will hear that passion, and will appreciate it. Also, the shredding and drum roll stands out on this track in particular. It allows for the aggressive and confidence to flow wildly. The band definitely nailed it with this one.
“Glassjaw” opens up with some intense shredding that leaves the listener eager for the head-throbbing good music that’s about to follow. Vocally, the song brings something new. The auto-tuning orchestrated during various sections is executed well, and is quite appealing to the ears. It’s the perfect balance. Arguably, one of the most hostile lyrics one can hear on this album. Fans are sure to feel the urge to open up the pit with this aggressive song.
“Can I Live” was originally brought to their fans as a live track. I’m excited to see that a studio version is present on this album. It’s just as good as the live release, but of course, it’s more crisp and smooth. The transitioning and chord progression heard are ones I favored in particular. There’s also an audio sample used, and it is the perfect break in the music. It also solidifies the lyrics communicated, and prefaces the conclusion of the song well. I am quite pleased with how this track came together in the end.
“Nu-Breed” is a great track. The new nu-metal sound HeadTrip Trauma brings is what makes them a “nu-breed,” and it’s brilliant. It can be seen as another anthem track for the band, or one for the fans of this music scene. The double meaning is what shines brightly. One thing that’s intriguing is that Diani’s vocals are conveyed differently on this track. There’s more screaming and yelling versus the growling that listeners can hear on the band’s other tracks. It’s quite pleasing to hear the new vocal techniques. This helps break up the repetitive, loud growling.
“Animo$ity” is another track that was a single release. It’s great to see several beloved tracks made it to the final album product. This song is one of my favorites off Side Effects. The intro resembles an alien-like noise, backed by some shredding that makes the listener feel like they’re right in the middle of a Galaga game. It is a unique and fun addition that is enjoyable. There’s also other aspects to this song that allow for it to stand out. For instance, there’s record scratching throughout, which is another nice detail. The high-energy music begs for the floor to open up in a circle pit. I can only imagine how great this song is going to be during a live performance.
“Haunted” is a great transition track. This track compliments the album well and follows in suit with the flow the album is heading in. It will do exactly what one would expect, leave the listeners feeling haunted. The rain and thunder roll sampling used throughout is what stands out the most. It is definitely used in the best way here. The guitar and drum beat also mesh well with it. The instrumentals are a bit softer compared to the previous tracks, but this adds an eerie presence and works well in placement.
“No Trust” immediately jumps right back into some intense music. This shows that the band is truly non-stop, but it’s so good that there’s no issue with it. The shredding and work portrayed by Harris and Page on this track really shine bright, and help give this track that cut throat edge the band is known for. The breakdown especially was intense, and will leave listeners jumping up and down for more.
“Unchained” really portrays the musicians here disenthralled. This is another personal favorite off this album. I really loved Diani’s vocals on this track in particular. The effects used give his vocals their own unique beat, and it worked quite well for the overall song. Instrumentally, this track also stands out. My personal interest peaked when I heard the screeching guitar shredding. That was a nice effect added.
To close out this album, we have the title track, “Side Effects.” This track perfectly wraps up this album. This is arguably one of the best and heaviest tracks listeners can hear. The musicians really open up and produce their talents to the full capability. I really loved hearing the clean vocals especially. This is the only track off the album that has clean vocals, so it was refreshing to hear. The balance between them and the screaming vocals is great and flowed well effortlessly. Instrumentally, it was another ambient track. It reminded me of listening to Disturbed, but had the traditional HeadTrip Trauma sound to it that makes it awesome. Quite impressed with this track in particular.
After listening to the full album on repeat, one thing is for certain, and that is how proud I am of these musicians. This full-length debut project packs one hell of a punch, and these musicians did a phenomenal job. Every track is special and welcomes a different experience, so listeners are constantly faced with a new sound. It’s certain that fans will love and listen to these tracks for years to come. I know it left me on the edge of my seat, waiting for more. Remember to listen to Side Effects when it releases to the public on April 15. You can even pre-save it here.