by: Trapt

For their sixth major-label release, Trapt return their focus to the muscular riffs and straightforward rockers that defined their sound before 2013's relatively experimental (for them) Reborn. DNA is heavy, full of crunch, and features a handful of radio-ready modern rock pummelers that aim for "Headstrong" heights. "It's Over" and "Castaway" are the clear standouts, effortlessly balancing smoldering earnestness and melody like brethren Chevelle and Breaking Benjamin. Frontman Chris Taylor Brown's voice is pushed to its limits on big choruses, especially on the raging "Unforgiven." He even tiptoes into some pure, gritless singing on emotional highlight "Anchor." After a 12-song assault -- provided by bassist Peter Charell, guitarist Ty Fury, and drummer Dylan Howard -- four acoustic takes are tacked on at the end, providing a suitable comedown. At a total of 16 tracks, DNA might feel fairly repetitive, with many songs -- "Tangled Up in You," "Passenger," "Getting Even," and "Fallen Angel" -- getting lost in the shuffle. Nonetheless, the best moments of DNA are catchy and passionate. Partially funded by crowdsourced contributions, DNA succeeds in delivering to the Trapt faithful. The band even sought fan suggestions on social media, sparking discussions about society and relationships that would eventually inform Brown's lyrics. In that regard, DNA is mostly for the diehards, both a thank-you for their loyalty and a return to their no-frills hard rock roots. ~ Neil Z. Yeung

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