Released: Nov 11, 2008
Genre: Death-Metal, Hardcore, Punk
Label: Deathwish Inc
Number Of Tracks: 10
This is what happens when you blend Entombed-like death-metal and crusty hardcore. This is essential stuff folks!
Seizures In Barren Praise
UG Team, on november 11, 2008 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: These days heavy music pays no attention to genre boundaries. The underground is ripe with acts giving the middle finger to old-school convention and embracing the no-holds-barred spirit that made heavy-metal and punk so exhilarating in their salad days. New Hampshire's Trap Them incorporate elements of early Swedish death-metal (circa 1991), crusty punk (think Discharge and His Hero Is Gone), and hardcore into a sound that while abrasive, still manages to bleed out a sense of infectiousness in a lot of moments. The discordant yet rhythmic feedback squeal that opens the album is a great precursor to what lies ahead. The songs on Seizures In Barren Praise are cold, nasty, and chaotic but they follow enough classic song structure that you can't help but get pulled in. On Targets the group takes the listener through an extreme music sonic history map of the last fifteen years. In the span of 2:17 minutes, they manage to cram in punk, hardcore, death-metal, grindcore, sludgecore, and Neurosis-like destruction and somehow make it cohesive. Lesser bands would have been crushed by such an arduous task but Trap Them revel in it. // 8
Lyrics: Ryan McKenney has the kind of barbed-wire caressed voice box that was made for music this viscous. His obvious influence is L.G. Petrov of the aforementioned Entombed and like the Swede; McKenney is in full control throughout the album. This is a frontman who knows exactly which cadences and vocal patterns work best at any given moment. He's definitely studied the greats and his confidence shines through all over this stuff. Lyrically, the album deals with Barren Praise" a fictional ghost town and the people who live in it. The town is a metaphor and really a microcosm for the world we live in. It's easy to feel the hopelessness in songs like Invertopia/Class Warmth with it's bleak imagery and direct delivery. The rich wordplay and originality here is thrilling despite the grave place it comes from. McKenney is a writer to keep an eye on for years to come. // 8
Overall Impression: The always dependable engineering skills of Kurt Ballou don't disappoint here. His refreshingly raw production touch and Trap Them's unbridled energy is a perfect union. Ballou plays guitar in Converge and if you listen to the band's dizzying output you already know he knows his way around this sort of thing. Trap Them couldn't have been in better hands at this point in the career. The Chainsaw guitar tone that bands like Entombed (they pop up a lot in this band's work), Dismember, and Carnage pioneered in the early 90's is used here in all it's glory. The buzzing sound makes tracks like Flesh and Below and F*cking Viva all the more lethal in their delivery. With a lot of Trap Them's peers opting for cleaner, compressed guitar tones, this cruder approach is welcomed here. Brian Izzi flexes his fretboard skills through the entire tracklisting but he never overdoes it on the technical side of things rather letting nuances like amplifier feedback adorn sections like another guitar part would. Former Unearth drummer Mike Justian also hands in a smart performance lending the punkier tempos enough looseness to make them believable while locking in with bassist Steve Lacour on the more death-metal flavored sections. All in all, Seizures In Barren Praise is the sound of a band firing on all cylinders. // 8
Seizures In Barren Praise
restless_thrash, on july 10, 2009 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: Michael Justian does excellent work with the drums on this album. They convey aggression and speed without being a double kick disaster. I make an exception to the main riff in Reincarnation of Lost Tones, in which he provides a powerful blast beat. This doesn't overwhelm the album, though, and the use of original beats keeps it feeling raw and untamed. His style is reminiscent of old school thrash and hardcore punk, with gratuitous use of the snare, and at times he provides a controlled chaos to the riffs.
There isn't much bad to say about Brian Izzy, the guitarist and main songwriter in the band. His creative use of feedback at first seemed like it would be overused, but the fact that he produces different tones with it throughout the album tells me that the feedback is a planned part of all the songs. He manages to keep his riffs varied from song to song, nd always flowing within each track. He combines aggression with an almost sludgy/groove sound, weaving them seamlessly together to create a highly headbangable set of songs and riffs. He also displays quite the technical prowess in the riffs in Guignol Serene; my only problem is that he doesn't explore that aspect further. I know that Grindcore isn't about solos, but I think that adding one or two to the album would've pushed even further above the standard it set.
This album's musical side is centered mainly on the guitar and drums, but without the bass of Steven Lacour, it would lose a lot of aggression and drive. His heavy bass tone coincides well with the guitar. Like many albums, its purpose is to support the other instruments, but it is quite audible in the mix, and he plays a small section in Targets with distortion that sounds incredibly menacing. Overall, his bass work is tight, heavy, and well placed.
The mix on this album is superb. The guitar is crunchy yet tight and distinguishable, the vocals stand out just enough to be heard without overpowering the rhythm section, the drums sound natural and fall nicely into the sound setup, and the bass is audible at all times, being easily noticed when it plays, and even more noticed when it is not playing. Without the bass, the record would be empty. Personally, I think that Kurt couldn't have done this album better, with it retaining the raw sound that any good extreme album needs, yet being clean enough to enjoy all of the riffs and songs. // 10
Lyrics: I've been told the whole album is a concept album about a town called Barren Praise. While deciphering the lyrics to this album is proving to be a nightmare (the album booklet contains additional lyrics, and changes the order), the lyrical styles of Ryan McKenny are highly addictive and metaphorical; In the track Angles Anonymous In Transit, his twisting of common terms (bystander to hopestander, registered offender to registered success offender) gives a good idea of the albums lyrical content, being about life and politics. While at first glance these lyrics might seem a tad tedious for a fast-paced genre, Ryan manages to make them a perfect addition to the aggressive songs with his agonized, powerful screams and interesting rhythmic structure. // 10
Overall Impression: I first encountered Trap Them while they were on your with Napalm Death in May of 2009. I always make a habit of showing up for the openers; the band that's touring chose them for a reason, and that's good enough for me. While all of us were congregating around the merch tables/bar, a sudden blast of the drums and vocals came screaming out of nowhere. Listening to this album, I feel exactly as I did when I watched them live; they had a huge amount of energy which conveyed very well onto this album. I'd have to say that of all the songs, my favourites are F--king Viva, Targets, Gutterbomb Heaven on the grid, and Roam/Absent Civilians.
Overall, this is a great album, being loud, balls to the wall, and original. The only flaws on this album are (to me) the lack of solos (as mentioned, just a preference), and the last song, Mission Convincers. While being as tight and proficient as the rest of the album, it's simply too long to end such a fast-paced album with. If this song were replaced with one or two shorter ones, I would've rated this album a 10. // 8