Trap Them have inadvertently become trendsetters in their roughly 15 year existence. Their blistering blend of HM-2 fueled Swedish death metal/death ‘n’ roll and vitriolic hardcore has inspired a wealth of emulators over the years, but none quite so vicious and memorable as the archetypes themselves. Each release from this Boston/Seattle-based outfit has garnered positive accolades from reviewers and fans alike. And although each release isn’t a complete far-cry from the last, the band meticulously build upon their strengths to deliver solid, riff-heavy extravaganzas. Crown Feral, their fifth full-length release, is no different.
2014’s Blissfucker was an interesting addition to Trap Them‘s discography. Though it featured all of the groove-heavy, buzzsaw hardcore of its predecessors, it seemed to put more emphasis on the slower, moodier moments that were first touched upon on 2011’s Darker Handcraft. One wouldn’t be wrong to assume that Crown Feral would further build upon Blissfucker‘s dark, lurching manner. But, surprisingly, Crown Feral does not. The band’s blood-boiling, gritty hardcore makes an explosive return on this half-hour of heaviness, which sounds like a mix between Seizures in Barren Praise and Darker Handcraft.
“Kindred Dirt” opens up the record with some haunting, atmospheric melodies and lurching, gloomy riffs that are propelled by steady percussion and vocalist Ryan McKenney’s unmistakable rasp. This slow-burning tune bleeds into the album’s first single, “Hellionaires”. This three-minute blitz is vintage Trap Them. The tune is an unyielding assault of galloping riffs, angular melodies and muscular grooves, all of which come together to grind listeners into dust. From there, Crown Feral refuses to let up and continues to deliver one metallic bombardment after the next.
The one-two punch”Prodigala” and “Luster Pendulums” follows next with a myriad of propulsive hardcore rhythms and twisting and churning riffs that are spiced up with the occasional melodic flourish, or flesh-ripping tremolo-picked lick. “Twitching in the Auras” is a unique tune on the album, with its menacing tug-o-war between creeping clean melodies, sprawling bass lines and chugging mayhem. “Revival Spines” follows this atmospheric tune with some of the most vicious grooves on the record. The song explodes out of the gate wirh galloping , hammering guitars and equally punishing drum work that rips the listener limb from limb. The slow-building “Phantom Air” brings the record to a cataclysmic close. Trap Them begin their attack with slow, sludgier riffs that build in intensity until the track switches gears and becomes a mad dash of riffs to the finish line.
Though it is not a revolutionary album for the band, Crown Feral still delivers on what makes Trap Them a formidable force in the metal and hardcore scenes. Trap Them have a sound that works them and always produces positive results, even if it doesn’t break the mold all of the time. Crown Feral may not be the gloomy, “experimental” affair Blissfucker was, but it is miles ahead in terms of no-holds-barred aggression. And for a band like Trap Them, aggression is their best weapon.
Release Date: September 23, 2016
Label: Prosthetic Records
Favorite Tracks: “Hellionaires”, ‘Luster Pendulums”, “Revival Spines” and “Stray of the Tongue”
For Fans Of: Baptists, All Pigs Must Die, Cursed and Black Breath