The artwork for Total Retaliation immediately broadcasts listeners into the album’s theme. A person’s worried face reflects from smashed glass. Each edge is covered by a hand holding modern society’s stigmas, a gun, a knife, a syringe, a bottle of booze, and two hands hoisting the ends of a rope that wraps around an unseen neck. They are feelings of an individual suffocated by the copious amounts of drugs, violence, and self-loathing seen around us on a regular basis. The album is a comment on modern times, and TERROR isn’t afraid to share their message extremely loud and clear.
“This World Never Wanted Me” is a brooding opener for hardcore outfit TERROR’s brand new record, Total Retaliation. The guitar-vocal only opening to the song builds an erratic anticipation within the listener, only to explode like a city-wide code red. It’s a street-luscious groove, an anthem for homeless, the lost, the people who have been socially rejected by an emotionally plastic society.
“Mental Demolition” and “Get Off My Back,” the record’s second and third tunes, revisit speedier thrashings as “One More Enemy” mixes adrenaline with mosh-inducing riff-poundage. The traditional hardcore face-smashing continues with the next three tracks: “Break the Lock,” “In Spite of These Times,” and the album’s title track - “Total Retaliation.”
“Post Armageddon Interlude” is a haunting offering. At only one and a half minutes, the song opens with terrorizing Mickey Mouse-like voice saying “Kill, kill, kill, shoot, shoot, shoot, I am God.” When this voice is asked what their political views are, it simply states: “Kill everyone now.” The almost lullaby-like beat is rapped over. It is, essentially, a rap song, the only one on the album an interesting change of pace that still fits surprisingly well amongst the guitar-driven wreckage.
The ninth song, “Spirit Of Sacrifice” opens with an almost, dare I say it, radio-esque rock riff. Brutality returns quick, though, and the song includes a destructive breakdown. “I Don’t Know You” follows stylistic suit.
“Behind the Bars” and “Suffer the Edge of the Lies” continue the album’s throw you through a flaming wall trend while Total Retaliation’s final track “Resistant to the Changes” provides an anthemic chorus that perfectly encapsulates the record’s message of powering through the damages of a self-destructing planet with a chants of “Feel this, we’re alive.”
Total Retaliation, in all honesty, could be TERROR's most mature album both musically as well as lyrically. There's a story being told and emotions being felt by the performers and instilled into listeners. It's a story of a violent world, being told through the medium of violent sounds.