14 March 2011
by Danny Montana
It’s an explosion. It’s a big crunching mess. It’s a hasty cacophony. For your ears, it could a goddamned catastrophe. These might be some of the things that fly through your mind while you attempt to make sense of the blistering onslaught of hardcore/metal crossover that greets you during ‘Damage Prose’ – the opening track to Trap Them’s third album Darker Handcraft.
They are all reasonable thoughts because, thankfully, this record does not get any easier to listen to.
Produced by Kurt Ballou, it’s unsurprising that the relentless fury of this band has been captured perfectly in the dozen songs within this 31-minute disc. Each song seemingly harsher and angrier than the one before, listening to Darker Handcraft feels like running out of control down a hill whilst carrying your groceries. You don’t want to break those eggs, but each frightening step brings the inevitable closer.
The sinister slowdown of ‘Sinister Earnings’ halfway through the album is the moment you crave where the blastbeats make way for doomy grind for just a minute before returning to the jarring stomp of ‘The Facts’. Ryan McKenney’s screams barely make a dent in the 75 seconds of Saintpeelers because that song is all about the precision of Chris Maggio’s drums. I would trust him to hammer nails. All the fucking nails.
In the same vein of Converge’s expansive album endings, Trap Them save their longest song for their finale. Instead of a psychedelic ten-minute epic, however, the sludgy, cathartic Scars Align runs at four and a half minutes. It’s all relative, though. Right?
There is not a single ballad on this album. There is no restraint and only slight relief. Let yourself go and get caught in Trap Them’s mosh. You won’t look back. Possibly because the whiplash will mean you can’t. There won’t be a better album released in 2011. Mark my words.
Sounds like: Trash Talk, Doomriders, Will Haven, Chambers
Top tracks: All By The Constant, Evictionaries, Sinister Earnings
Guitar solo rating: 1/6
Trap Them – Darker Handcraft tracklisting
Slumcult & Gather
Every Walk A Quarantine
All by the Constant Vulse
Manic in the Grips
Sovereign Through the Pines
Drag the Wounds Eternal