Trap Them - Darker Handcraft
Prosthetic Records
12 songs (31:05)
Release year: 2011
Prosthetic Records
Reviewed by Brian
Album of the month

Over the course of two full-length albums and a handful of EPs and 7-inchers, Trap Them have provided hope for anyone who wondered if the hardcore and metal worlds weren’t sinking under the weight of too many bands doing the same exact thing. They had a freshness, a violence, a sincerity that many other bands seemed to lack, and while their output was ferocious, they hadn’t quite hit on that career-defining moment yet. With their third album Darker Handcraft, that moment has arrived.

Darker Handcraft maintains the band’s sense of primal expression, yet there’s a new sense of musical maturity that doesn’t compromise their message or mission at all. They’ve simply gotten better as players, and along the way, they’ve grown hungrier. That certainly is obvious of frontman Ryan McKenney, who just goes off on this thing, his raspy diatribe seemingly directed right at you, the listener. He’s impossible to ignore, and you won’t want to divert your attention anyway because his attack is so spot-on.

Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou producer this sucker, and it’s fairly apropos because if his band ever needed a proper successor, Trap Them would be the choice. In fact, there are some Converge-like qualities on Darker Handcraft, from the fiery pace to some of the guitar work bearing similar traits as Ballou’s playing, most notably the licks on Every Walk a Quarantine. But it never sounds like the band is aping Converge, rather the influence surely must be from creative osmosis.

The record rips open on Damage Prose, a blast of hardcore fury with McKenney insisting, “We’re all junkies at heart.” While hardcore certainly provides the spine, the band shows their hearts also lie elsewhere, which they prove by adding a tasty thrash groove to Evictionaries and All By the Constant; mixing doom and harsh feedback whining into Sovereign Through the Pines; spilling subtle black metal guitar work into closer Scars Align; and even tipping their caps to punk roots on The Facts by torpedoing into a Motörhead-style opening before paying homage to the Misfits’ Where Eagles Dare on the chorus.

Bands pop up all the time that get lathered in praise for one good album or a couple of decent songs, but how many come through? Trap Them now have a track record stretching over nearly a decade, and now their hallmark is in our hands. That said, these guys also are likely to just get better as they go, so who knows if their next album will eclipse this one? But that’s a matter for another time, as Darker Handcraft deserves our attention now, and Trap Them are worthy of all the accolades showered upon them.

Killing Songs :
Damage Prose, The Facts, Scars Align
Brian quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Trap Them that we have reviewed:
Trap Them - Seizures in Barren Praise reviewed by Drew and quoted 82 / 100
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