Sound — 8
They may not boast the highest profile in the scene, but those who are in the know are well aware that Trap Them is a trustworthy source to get a bona fide grindcore fix. Starting out as a side project between frontman Ryan McKenney and guitarist Brian Izzi (who were both working with the hardcore band Backstabbers Incorporated at the time), they would soon focus on Trap Them exclusively after leaving BSI. After being on the grind for several years, Trap Them would release their debut album, "Sleepwell Deconstructor," in 2007, which was met with glowing praise. A year later, their sophomore album, "Seizures in Barren Praise," would warrant the same degree of positive reaction, which would lead to Trap Them getting signed with the high-profile metal label Prosthetic Records. Two years after signing with the label, they would release their third album, "Darker Handcraft," which further enforced the band's reputation for delivering unrelenting and genuine extreme metal. Having spent a few years after that release touring and switching up a couple band members, Trap Them has now released their fourth album, "Blissfucker."
It's no surprise that "Blissfucker" doesn't stray away from Trap Them's seemingly golden recipes for extreme metal, but "Blissfucker" touts some new formulas and some new tricks in order to set itself apart from its predecessors. "Blissfucker" ends up being the longest album Trap Them have recorded, and you won't find any less-than-120-seconds interlude tracks or flurries of noise. Instead, Trap Them takes their viciously sweet time on the album and cover lots of ground. You'll of course be getting a proper dosage of top-gear, high-octane metal in songs like "Habitland," "Lungrunners" and "Former Lining Wide the Walls," where your ears get bombarded with abrasive guitar-lines and jackhammer-strength drum-lines. The mid-tempo'd "Gift and Gift Unsteady" boasts a catchy riff and an orderly structure, which juxtaposes the true-to-form sludge metal number "Ransom Risen," which painstakingly climbs up a slow-riffed staircase before suddenly tumbling down into a cacophonic chaos. That won't be the only case where the album travels at the speed of glacier movement, though. Trap Them shows a penchant for slow-paced, sludgy sections in numerous songs - sometimes, they opt to keep it trudging throughout, like in "Bad Nones" and "Savage Climbers," where the thick, plodding riffs pull you in slowly but utterly like quicksand; other times, the sludge riffs are a tease before the song abruptly turns into a thrasher, like in "Salted Crypts" and "Let Fall Each and Every Sedition Symptom," which greatly amplify the way those fierce sections hit you.
The production of "Blissfucker" also provides more distinction to the album. As opposed to "Darkened Handcraft," the mix-down in "Blissfucker" tailors to those that like their metal dirty and murky rather than crisp and clean. The guitar takes top priority in the mix, being the loudest and with a sound that's goes overboard on the filth, which fits perfectly for the amount of sludge style on the album. However, you'll also notice that the vocals are the ones put in the very back, and while McKenney's shouts are still able to be heard, they're the faintest sound element in most songs. There's also a recurring distortion in the sound during many of the blastbeat sections, where the entire track starts to throb along with the rhythm of the drumming, and it interferes with the guitar-lines - some may prefer this vintage aesthetic in grindcore, but a flaw is still a flaw.
Lyrics — 7
Trap Them has a very different approach when it comes to lyrics. As grindcore vocals aren't easy to decipher to begin with, Trap Them goes even further to make sure their lyrics aren't distinguishable in "Blissfucker." The reason why? Because they're amorphous. In an interview, McKenney discussed that the lyrics to Trap Them's songs are ever-changing - what he writes prior to recording won't be the exact same lyrics he shouts in the studio version, and the lyrics he shouts when performing live are also different from the other versions (you can read the full interview here). McKenney has mentioned that the band will be publishing a book containing all of their lyrics written - even the lyrics that didn't make it onto songs - but even then, McKenney reiterates that the lyrics that would be published in that book shouldn't be considered the official, concrete lyrics to the songs because McKenney will always perform it differently. Whether or not one finds this elusive lyrical concept to be intriguing or just a way to hide the fact that the lyrics are possibly shabby, it's certainly an unorthodox approach.
Overall Impression — 8
Continuing to utilize the sound that's made their last three albums so commendable, Trap Them does all the right things to keep it fresh in "Blissfucker," which results in yet another album of theirs worth praising. Though their signature fast-paced onslaught is what Trap Them is best known for, the multi-geared trip from front to back in "Blissfucker" is dynamic, enthralling, and shows that you don't have to have a "pedal to the metal" mentality all the way through in order to make a wild ride of an album.