Trap Them frontman Ryan McKenney is really, really angry. That one thing is abundantly clear. From ‘Crown Feral’‘s sparse opening of ‘Kindred Dirt’, his rage is unbridled, and that doesn’t stop until the closing notes of ‘Phantom Air’. Not a single jocund moment. For some bands, this one-track path of aggression would be a boring listen, but not for Trap Them, who over the last decade or so have forged their name as one of the most visceral bands in current hardcore, both on record and in a live setting.
The aforementioned ‘Kindred Dirt’ kicks things off more quietly than you might expect, but it’s clear from that first howl and kick drum that we’re building up to something terrifying. Layers of feedback excruciatingly squeal over the vocals, and by the time second track ‘Hellionaires’ kicks in, the listener is at absolute breaking point. ‘Luster Pendulums’ is a relentless bruiser of a track that showcases Trap Them‘s ability to play fucking loud and fucking fast whilst still being catchy musically, and ‘Malengines Here, Where They Should Be’ is more mid-paced but no less hard hitting, with a long, brooding middle section.
‘Twitching In The Auras’ throws a bit of a curveball by being a lot more stripped back, but McKenney‘s vocals don’t drop below the thunderous bellow he’d be throwing out if the rest of the band were firing on all cylinders. This omnipresent and effervescent rage really is the driving force behind Trap Them, it just makes the pummelling feel so believable and adds a level of intensity most bands fail to deliver.
There aren’t really any criticisms of this album other than it very much being Trap Them by numbers, but the quality of songwriting and ferocity with which it’s delivered cannot be questioned. Kurt Ballou continues to be the most consistent producer in metal and ‘Crown Feral’ is another impeccable entry on his flawless CV with every aspect sounding enormous. The guitars shred like a buzzsaw, the bass and drums are earth-trembling, and the howling feedback and grit that surrounds the album really make it deserving of the “feral” in the title.
This record is a chimera of blackened hardcore, filth-encrusted d-beat and pure balls-out heavy metal. If you’re not careful, one of its many heads will take your hand off and spit it back in your face.
Written by Liam Knowles (@wearefixtures)
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.