Trapped Under Ice have always been a boundary-pushing band within the hardcore scene, each of their releases thus far having been established as classics in their own right. Drawing from No Warning, Crown of Thornz and Biohazard's late '90s groove-centric hardcore and adding their signature flair, the five-piece have carved out an altogether distinct space for themselves.
Heatwave comes after a six-year hiatus, but it's apparent that it was time well spent; with members having stretched the limits of punk and hardcore sounds in bands like Turnstile, Angel Du$t and Diamond Youth, upon reconvening their collective vision for the new age of Trapped Under Ice has stayed true to their ethos — and has created the most fun, challenging and relentlessly progressive hardcore release of the year so far.
The fact that Heatwave clocks in at less than half the length of their last release but still hits as hard is a testament to the band's new and improved writing style. Skewing more punk than metalcore this time around, tracks like "Backstabbed" and "No Relief" sprint though a flurry of power chords before briefly settling into familiar grooves and absolutely menacing breakdowns that end as quickly as they set their hooks in, which adds to the re-listenability of the entire record. Songs like "Throw It Away" and "Other Side" are proof that Trapped Under Ice haven't slipped an inch in terms of rhythmic dynamism, each song switching gears between blistering solos and complex verses with ease.
In addition to the airtight musicianship here, Justice Tripp's vocal delivery is more varied and complex than ever before as well. Where he previously relied completely on his signature throat-shredding scream, Heatwave finds Tripp blending it with styles he has experimented with on records with Angel Du$t, making for a more interesting overall listen and putting more emphasis to the deliberately heavy parts.
Trapped Under Ice's approach to making music captures the spirit of punk and hardcore that's often lost on a number of the newer bands in the scene competing to write the heaviest breakdown. They have the nerve to completely disregard the expectations put upon them and challenge what a punk record can sound like, which puts them in a league completely their own. (Pop Wig Records)