Crusty and filthy- just how we like it.
For those outside the know, Trap Them are a crust/grindcore band from Boston that have spent the best part of a decade creating some of the dirtiest noises from the underground. Over the course of four albums and countless EPs and splits, the band have concocted a sinister brew of gnarly sounds that draws from Entombed and Autopsy as much as it does Black Flag and Converge. The band really established themselves, along with their equally crusty brethren in Seattle’s Black Breath, in 2011 with their seminal album Darker Handcraft. However, unlike Black Breath’s recent sonic departure on 2015’s Slaves Beyond Death, Trap Them have opted to stay the course on their latest work: Crown Feral.
Although the album opens with the doomy and ominous “Kindred Dirt”, the band quickly pick up the pace and pack their signature fury and vitriol. The guitars are still thick, distorted and draw upon a putrid cesspit of riffs for a disgustingly heavy attack, yet there’s subtle melodies and leads that evoke a similarly nauseating vibe to death metal legends Autopsy. One listen to tunes such as “Hellionaires” or “Luster Pendulum” leaves the listener in a death metal haze. Bolstered by a gnashing bass tone, the combination of guitar and bass revs and grunts like a chainsaw to a delightfully sickening effect. So far, so filthy.
The drum work ensures that each riff and song is built upon a sturdy foundation. Whether there’s a rocking avalanche of fills, flailing d-beats or grinding blast beats, each song is held up on a keen sense of propulsion that ensures each song’s energy doesn’t dip. This works particularly well on the punky “Prodigula”, or on the hardcore stomp of “Malengines Here, Where They Should Be”. Whilst the full-throttle approach does add a degree of excitement to proceedings, they do rein in at the appropriate times- such as the sparse rhythm work that opens the floating, nightmarish dreamscape of “Speak Nigh”.
In spite of the few curveballs that the band has sprinkled here and there, the album is somewhat hindered by its predominantly one-dimensional style. The band certainly deliver their crusty goods to a high standard, but there lacks any standout tracks with a memorable riff or chorus. At least the band have limited the album to just ten songs to prevent Crown Feral from getting too repetitive, however it doesn’t stop the last few tracks from blurring into one continuous grind. All the album really needs is a few more mid-paced numbers and some guitar leads (such as the brief blazing notes on “Stray Of The Tongue”) to break up their rabid onslaught.
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