Published Sep 21, 2016Although the band have moved on from their Deathwish days, Trap Them continue to follow a similar sonic trajectory to their Converge peers on their fifth LP, Crown Feral. They've been gradually cleaning up their sound with each successive release on Prosthetic Records, without sacrificing the relentless speed and heavy timbres that made their early work so magnetic. This record sits comfortably on the ever-shifting ground between grind, crust-tinged D-beat and metalcore while building on that foundation with sharpened songwriting and production.
Guitars crunch and slash here rather than buzz like chainsaws. Quick harmonic-minor runs accent massive, stacked-up riffs, while gorgeous leads cascade across the stomping rhythms of "Phantom Air." Brad Fickeisen's pronounced drum tones work effectively to reinforce some of the band's more technical manoeuvres and help carry the driving sections of the record along on strong shoulders.
The band's tighter sound highlights some truly complex and detailed songwriting. The agile rhythmic shifts and counterpoised guitar fills on "Speak Nigh" might have been buried in the more blown-out palette of the band's earlier records, but Trap Them takes advantage of their newfound sonic room here to play with dynamics and pacing, making even the shorter songs feel engaging and fleshed out. On "Revival Spines," the guitar changes its tonal focus and draws back at crucial points before being stoked into a satisfying, pummelling crescendo.
Crown Feral succeeds as another evolutionary step forward in Trap Them's subtle refining of their chaotic sound. (Prosthetic)