Album Review: TRAP THEM Crown Feral
Trap Them are one of those bands that can serve, like Converge or Nails, as a portal between worlds; something that connects the dots between worlds. And considering Trap Them’s mid-2000's sign to Deathwish Inc., it’s possible they did just that. Bringing a hardcore/punk, d-beat, and grind attitude with death metal riffs ala Grave and, of course, Entombed. Either way, Trap Them have carved their name into the extreme music scene with an ivory blade.
There’s influence aplenty when it comes to Trap Them but there’s also something about them that’s always discernable and uniquely them. Even with the HM-2/GodCity recording style (that’s become so prevalent that it’s birthed the unfortunate term “Entombedcore”), backing them up, they manage to stand out amongst the crowd. Helps that it also really works with their songwriting style. And now with their fifth LP having been released the question is: so what does Trap Them do now that they haven’t already done?
Trap Them haven’t released a bad record, as far as I’m concerned. The band has always been like a vicious haunted house. And Crown Feral makes no effort to deviate from the path the band is set on. Mainstays Brian Izzi and Ryan McKenney for once have a returning line-up, including Brad Fickeisen and Galen Baudhuin. So that means it’s going to sound more like Blissfucker, right?
Crown Feral is an interesting album in that it sounds like a fusion of Blissfucker and Sleepwell Deconstructor. This is the most grinding Trap Them has sounded since 2007, but they’re not without that death metal edge. The dissonant/moody/noisy opener “Kindred Dirt” is more remanence of “Destructioneer Extrodinare” than “Salted Crypts” but both influences are there (something that’s also revisited later on “Twitching in the Auras”). And from there on, comes “Hellionaires”; it’s pure chaos and very decisively a Trap Them album. Something that corners you and rips out your throat.
So what? What makes this album special in any way, shape or form from their discography? The influences of the past have always been there. Hell, when Darker Handcraft hit, it felt like the band had entered a new era, and I wondered if they were going to hit the Left Hand Path full on. But nope. Here and Blissfucker shows that the band is more about refining their sound and punching out groovy tunes over a gradual genre shift. They sharpen their knives rather than trade them out for new ones. Izzi still writes some of the catchiest guitar work in the scene (see: every bit of “Prodigala” and “Malengines Here, Where They Should Be”). And it’s not just a one-man effort. Everyone brings their A-game: McKenney still sounds like he’s on the verge of mentally snapping, and Fickeisen’s drumming is memorable and pummeling, while Baudhuin’s bass is a haunting back drop.
Like any Trap Them album, the band leaves little breathing room. Even during the noisier parts, there’s really no breathing room. It’s like debris choking you in a wide open space, which is appropriate given their name. Safe space has always been a foreign concept, but to some it might feel like the band isn’t exploring ideas enough. Though that’s hypothetical, the thirty-one-minute attack does go by quickly.
Trap Them basically shoves your head into a mulcher and keeps on grinding with Crown Feral. It’s plenty hardcore/punk, d-beat and death metal with an overall crusty-grind-y feel. So yeah, it’s a Trap Them album, and if they haven’t won you over yet there’s probably not much here for you. Anyone into Disfear, All Pigs Must Die (another Izzi band), Entombed or Converge probably already know about Trap Them and are probably listening to this right now. If this is your first hurrah though, play it at maximum volume and invest in a neck-brace and Epsom salts. This thing is very much untamed. May Trap Them long wear their crown.