TRAUMA – Awakening

TRAUMA - Awakening
  • 8.2/10
    TRAUMA - AWAKENING - 8.2/10


Label: Massacre Records
Release date: September 9, 2022

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San Francisco Bay area Thrash Metal pioneers Trauma return to the scene with their fourth full-length album Awakening. This is the first album since the 2018 release of As the World Dies.

The writing and recording for Awakening began in 2020 with the lineup of Donny Hillier (vocals), Kris Gustofson (drums), Joe Fraulob (guitar), Steve Robello (guitar), and Greg Christian (bass). Unfortunately, tragedy struck the band in 2020 with the sudden passing of Donny Hillier due to an unknown illness on September 28, 2020. Brian Allen (formerly Vicious Rumors and Dark Sky Choir) joined the band in 2021. As of August 3, 2022, bassist Greg Christian and Trauma have agreed to part ways per Trauma’s website. Michael Spencer (Flotsam and Jetsam / Sentinel Beast) will fill in to play bass for upcoming European shows in 2022.

Awakening has a runtime of a little over 44 minutes with 11 tracks. The album has fast heavy guitar riffs, pounding drums, thundering bass, and dynamic vocals from Brian Allen which is being touted as a much heavier album than previous releases. For those unfamiliar with Trauma, Awakening will have similar qualities and attributes to bands such as Iced Earth (Tim “Ripper” Owens era) and 2010’s era Judas Priest. In-your-face head-banging Heavy Metal with no shortage of shredding solos, double kick-bass drums, and tempo changes. Compared to As The World Dies, Allen’s vocals bring a more aggressive tone and range with a grittier and raspy sound compared to Hillier’s cleaner delivery. The songs on Awakening, are heavier and a bit more aggressive than As the World Dies. Lyrically, there are dark themes throughout the album.

The Good

Awakening opens with lead off and first single, “Walk Away.” Lyrically, this track explores the never-ending conflict in the Middle East. Musically, this song has multiple tempo changes, harmonic guitars, and pounding drums. The second single from this album “Death of the Angel,” is about serial killers focusing on Ted Bundy’s point of view. Musically this song has an up-tempo double bass kick sound and a melodic chorus that is easy to sing along to. Other standout tracks on this album are “The River Red” and “Falling Down.” “The River Red” has a solid intro riff that transitions to a heavy Thrash beat, then other transitions to a Power-style beat. “Falling Down” is a mid-tempo song with opening clean guitars transitioning to a heavier beat before slowing down. “Falling Down” also has an extended solo that is greatly appreciated. These songs give this album a deeper range than if all songs were all out of up-tempo bangers. All tracks have their own sound with no two songs sounding alike.

The Not So Good

There are no really bad songs here, but “Voodoo” feels somewhat out of place on this album. The song opens with a vocal chant and primal drum beat before the guitars kick in.  Also, “Blind” does not have the same energy/feel that flows with the rest of the album.

Overall, Trauma has delivered a very solid Heavy Metal album in 2022. Each song has its own identity and feels with multiple tempo changes that make for a very dynamic Heavy Metal album.


1. Walk Away
2. Ted Talks
3. Death Of The Angel
4. Meat
5. The River Red
6. Burn
7. Falling Down
8. Voodoo
9. End Of Everything
10. Blind
11. Death Machine

Album lineup

Brian Allen – Vocals
Steve Robello – Guitars
Joe Fraulob – Guitars
Greg Christian – Bass
Kris Gustofson – Drums


  • Mark Zagotti

    Mark is a reviewer for Metal Express Radio since 2022. He first discovered the power of Hard Rock in 1985 as a teen when he first listened to Twisted Sister's cassette Stay Hungry. In his teen years, Mark was introduced to bands such as Kiss, Metallica, and enjoying the time that Rock and Metal ruled MTV. His first Heavy Metal concert was Clash of the Titans in 1991, where he experienced the site of a SLAYER mosh pit for the first time. Ever since that moment he has been a METAL HEAD for life. Mark's musical tastes have expanded over the years enjoying music from bands ranging from Ghost, Amorphis, Paradise Lost, the Big 4, Behemoth, and just about everything in between.    

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