01. Damage Prose
02. Slumcult & Gather
03. Every Walk a Quarantine
05. All by the Constant Vulse
06. Sordid Earnings
07. The Facts
09. Manic in the Grips
10. Sovereign Through the Pines
11. Drag the Wounds Eternal
12. Scars Align
It’s hard to believe three years have passed since New Hampshire’s Trap Them released a full-length album, and since then other hardcore/crust punk bands have been taking the genre by storm. Granted they released their EP Filth Rations in 2010 to hold people over, but to me it was more of a tease, only leaving me wanting more. Also durning this span of time, they left their original home label, Deathwish, and signed to Prosthetic Records, with Darker Handcraft being their first release through the label. So the question is, was Darker Handcraft worth the wait, did it meet expectations or crash and burn under the weight of all the other bands dominating the genre right now…
Of course it was worth the wait and expectations were gladly meet. Trap Them haven’t lost their touch at all, having crafted (no pun intended) an album worthy of keeping them at the top of the hardcore/crust scene. And if you’re feeling a bit skeptical, the opening track “Damage Prose” quickly banishes any of those doubts by instantly assaulting the listener with the ferocity of guitarist Brian Izzi, the rapid drumming of now permanent member Chris Maggio (Coliseum), and the hardcore/punk-infused vocals of Ryan McKenney. When all is combined, you get the most angry, frenetic and evil album of their career. And the punishment doesn’t end there, “Slumcult & Gather” just continues the onslaught, giving no time for the listener to catch their breath. The frenzy of riffs and cymbal crashes just annihilate on all levels, leaving nothing but destruction in it’s wake.
“Every Walk A Quarantine”, “Evictionaries” and “All By The Constant Vulse” just further confirm Trap Them mean business, but I can’t help but notice the similarities this album has to another amazing album, Axe To Fall. Although it comes as no surprise since having Kurt Ballou produce the album, it’s bound to acquire that similar sound. And I’m not knocking it, in fact it’s one of the major reasons I keep coming back to it, but this could be contrived from other listeners as a problem, as this could take away from some creativity on Trap Them’s part. But nonetheless, it works for the album and if it brings you back for multiple listens, then that’s all that matters.
In between the chaos, Trap Them bring in moment of relief with their instrumental track, “Sordid Earnings”. This is about the only breather this album gives you with it’s eerie, drawn-out chords and low-tempo pace. But don’t get to comfortable, as this instrumental is merely the eye of the storm as the latter half of this album continues the pummeling brought forth in earlier tracks, but this time with more of their grindcore roots thrown in. “The Facts” sounds like a pissed off version of The Misfits classic, “We’re Eagles Dare”, and when you hear it, you’ll understand my comparison. It has that old school hardcore/punk anthem feel to it, definitely making it one to remember. “Saintpeelers” is a minute and 15 seconds of screeching feedback, scalding screams and spastic drumming which continues into the 58 skull crushing seconds of “Manic In The Grips”.
The final tracks is where we see Trap Them taking a more doomier approach, offering a low-end melody on “Drag The Wounds Eternal”, and evoking a bit of an Entombed feel with the black metal sounding “Scars Align”, which is the longest (4:29) and best track on the album. It’s the perfect closer to a razor-sharp sounding album.
This is a strong release from Trap Them and further proof that they are masters at what they do. They’ve not only evolved, but did so while continuing to stay true to their sound. Each album of theirs is a sonic force of music that’s furious, dark and real, and Darker Handcraft is no different. It’s a menacing album from beginning to end, and if those closing tracks are of any indication, it’s a glimpse into the future of their sound, which is only going to become more grim and sadistic.
Trap Them – Darker Handcraft