Trap Them - Darker Handcraft Release Date: March 1, 2011
Record Label: Prosthetic Records
Ever weeded through an oddities museum of deformed limbs, wax skulls, and loose organs submerged in over-sized mason jars of strange fluids? Before you answer that, it tells its own story of the sound grindcore band Trap Them clobbered the scene with in 2001, while encoding the irreverent attitude of Black Flag and rage mnemonics into their brains. A Prosthetic Records debut, Darker Handcraft deciphers what Leatherface turned into his special forte: it stretches skin and curdles blood like it's a walk in the park. And it's undoubtedly Trap Them's grimmest release to date.
The album is a production werewolf, arranging howls and ruthless guitar rips that equate to a Converge-lite (incidentally frontman Jake Bannon released two of their previous works on his label Deathwish) with gloomy thrash smeared in between, brought to life by the handiwork of Kurt Ballou. What magnetizes the listener can be attributed to the d-beat bloodthirst, the hungry push and pull momentum drummer Chris Maggio executes with mind-blowing precision, supplemented with Ryan McKenney and Brian Izzi spinning the dials of Swedish-influenced metallic trickery to spotlight chainsaw guitar techniques.
Opening explosion "Damage Prose" recklessly rams from various dimensions, igniting cymbal taps through a speed defying continuum from one end and technical guitar leads from the other. Geographically, the band has cemented a compositional recipe well, taking cues from their residencies by drawing out the best of Louisville's metalpocalypse and Seattle's knockout defiance. When we reach the center of the album, single "The Facts" lyrically calls to mind the Misfit's track "Where Eagles Dare" when vocalist McKenney swears: "I am that goddamn son of a bitch" as the belly to beastly rhythms and bone crushing riffs. As the album nearly comes to a close, we're lit up by the musically enchanting "Drag The Wounds Eternal", which relies on anthemic fuzz effects and a slow, hollow dirge-like atmosphere to showcase McKenney's coarse output.
It's well worth admitting Trap Them embody their name bar none. Their talented musicianship signals they are out of step with their peers experimentally as grindcore architects; likewise, Darker Handcraft will trap you easily in frenetic whiplash mode.
This album is like a more reserved take on their old material, which is definitely a good thing. It has a lot more focus. Also, the production is amazing. I heard they were pressing it on like 270 gram vinyl but I think that was just a rumor.