Blunt force

Trauma is a name that most metal fans will have heard due to a certain ex-member, but how many have actually listened to their music? Chris Kee thinks new album As The World Dies deserves attention, so he spoke to drummer Kris Gustofson about traumas past and present.

As The World Dies is a fine album of gritty thrash metal that resurrects the original spirit of Trauma that was somewhat missing on their comeback album, Rapture And Wrath. It’s darker, harder and shows once and for all that Trauma deserve to be so much more than a footnote in another band’s story. “We are very happy about how the album came out,” smiles Trauma skinsman Kris Gustofson. “Me and Don Hillier [founder member/vocals] had a vision of what kind of album we needed to make after Rapture And Wrath; something that went back to the bands roots but with more twists and turns, something that would be interesting to listen to.”

In case anyone doesn’t know, the ex-member I’ve been alluding to is Metallica’s legendary and much missed bassist, Cliff Burton. To me it has always seemed more of a hindrance than a help to Trauma to have once counted Cliff among their ranks: “Yes and no,” shrugs Kris. “Cliff was a member for a very short time. He was a good guy. Awesome that he had the success he did for another, tragically short time. However, we sometimes get people and press who think we are trying to ride on some kind of coat tail or something. We never did,” he says firmly. “We have no association with Metallica – wish we did,” he laughs. “Those guys deserve everything that has come to them. One of the very best bands ever on planet earth.”

Funnily enough, As The World Dies features another bassist with a pretty remarkable thrash pedigree: ex-Testament man, Greg Christian. “There were several people trying to get Greg to jam with us,” recalls Kris. “Greg actually had another project going on that he was involved with, but we managed to set up a get together with him and then a jam and it was magic! Greg is a badass. Period.”

With As The World Dies being such a good album, you can’t help think what might have been if Trauma hadn’t split in 1985, staying away from the metal scene until 2013. Kris admits to a few hours spent wandering down that path as well. “Me and Don Hillier both have thought many times, ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’,” he admits, “however that’s not real. The time has passed and we did other things musically – good and bad. For us to be able to get any fans and interest in the genre of metal in this day and age, especially after so many years of ‘non existence’ and coming back from the dead is nothing short of…let’s say a miracle. We are humbled that there are people that seem to like what the band is doing now,” he continues. “We have some older recorded material that may see the light of day or may not, but Trauma is about the future and moving forward. The lineup we have currently is, I believe, one of the best. All the members have been around a long, long time and have paid dues for many years.” And hopefully now is the time for some much deserved payback. Trauma are working on new material and touring is definitely in their plans. “We are all veterans of touring,” says Kris, “obviously some more than others. I don’t think there is anywhere on planet Earth Greg hasn’t been with Testament! He has stories like no other. And we did a small tour of the East coast in April and no one was at anyone’s throat, so yeah…that’s a good thing,” he grins. “We have some of our team looking into the band playing live in many parts of the world and we’re hopeful to announce something very soon. We are very much looking forward to playing in the UK. This is where metal began for us; Sabbath, Maiden, Priest, Zeppelin and so many, many more the list would be a mile long. We hope to make many new friends along the way.”

As The World Dies
is out now on the orchard |

This feature was intended for publication in ZT issue 086, but due to lack of space it’s landed here for you to enjoy online instead. Subscriptions and single copies available here:


Thanks for dropping in!

If you’re here maybe you should think of adding Zero Tolerance Magazine to your arsenal of regular reading? We offer a 3-issue trial subscription to whet your appetite.