Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Trap Them: Darker Handcraft (2011)


Trap Them's third album Darker Handcraft was one of the most anticipated albums of the year. The band was definitely not on my radar before seeing all the hype, and that's for an obvious reason: they're not a metal band.

Darker HandcraftTrap Them play a style of punk combining crust punk, hardcore, and grindcore. I honestly know very little about any of these genres, aside from the places where they cross into metal territory. Metal and punk have had a long conversation, beginning at least as early as Motörhead. This album is similar enough to metal in a lot of ways that someone outside the world of punk or metal would be confused about the distinction. It's aggressive, riff-based music, and it's far heavier than most punk I've ever heard. But it's different enough from my beloved metal that I hardly feel qualified to write this review.

To my metallized ears, their particular brand of rage is the first thing that stands out as being very different from metal. The drums, too, are quite different. The riffs (which are, as I said, HEAVY) include a lot of well-placed dissonance. There are breakdowns. The vocals are strained shout/screams. All of these are very punk elements, but we've heard all of them work their way into metal in one place or another. And the music is interesting--they've actually managed to make breakdowns that sound good (see "All by the Constant Vulse"). If metalcore bands could figure out how to do that, I might actually listen to them.

The Verdict: It's not the style of music I'd want to listen to a lot of, but this is good enough (and, again, heavy enough) that it breaks through my stylistic preferences. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.


  1. I've been intrigued by Trap Them ever since their vocalist guested on the Kvelertak album. I just can't get into it. I don't know exactly what it is, something to do with the production perhaps, but it really hurts my ears! I really like lots of ferocious music in a similar vein, including Nails which has a huge grind influence, yet I can't get through more than a few tracks of this album without getting really tired ears. Odd.

  2. That is odd. The first time I listened to this, I started to get a mild headache as well, but I took some ibuprofen and it didn't happen any other time I listened to it. I don't make the connection between this and the headache before, but maybe there's something to that.