Sound — 9
Absolute carnage that is what Trap Them have unleashed with their newest full length, "Darker Handcraft". Harnessing a twisted blend of crust punk, hardcore, and metal, Trap Them pummel you with an unrelenting force of sadistic rage. Like a tornado of plague and disease, the sound obliterates everything in its path, only leaving a wake of desolation behind. At the forefront is vocalist Ryan McKenney, who wants nothing more than to cripple you and watch you squirm, while Brian Izzi's grind-inspired riffs tear at your flesh like buzzing chainsaw. On the drums is newcomer Chris Maggio (formerly of hardcore band Coliseum) and he fits right in, being the backbone in Trap Them's musical kick to the throat. The band is as tight as ever, switching through styles and tempos with ease while keeping a clean flow.
Lyrics — 8
With Kurt Ballou (Converge) in the producer's chair, the band's direction is more focused than ever. The production is gritty, but clear enough to establish a clear mix of tones, with Stephen Lacour filling out the bottom. The band also does gang vocals quite frequently, and Kevin Baker of THe Hope Conspiracy drops in on "Evictionaries" to provide some great guest vocals. When the band isn't bashing your head in with a ferocious barrage of sound, they're crushing you with sludgy riffs that smash you into obscurity, as seen on "Sordid Earnings" and "Scars Align".
Overall Impression — 9
In terms of song structure the album is sporadically all over the place. The opener, "Damage Prose", begins with a second of harmonic feedback before exploding out of the gates into a frantic barrage of palm muted grind riffs and d-beats for the majority of the song before ending with a overwhelming breakdown. While many songs are pretty typical grind/crust punk fare, "single" "The Facts" sounds like the demented cousin of Nazareth's "Hair Of The Dog" with McKenney shouting, "I am that goddamn son of a bitch in the dead of the night... I want the famine, I want the flood, I want the plague" while the band shows their deranged take on cock rock. On "Drag The Wounds Eternal" the band experiments with elements of drone and atmospheric metal, which only adds to their staple sound. The album ends on a high note with "Scars Align". The track begins with a crusty riff that marches along before erupting into a massive wall of sound when the rest of the band enters. The song trudges along, akin to soldiers striding into battle with the guitars reeking of southern sludge influences, before the guitar solely fades out into nothingness. "Darker Handcraft" has Trap Them in top form, showing that the band has perfected their brand of hardcore they have been utilizing on past releases and have nowhere to go but up. Tracks like "All By The Constant Vulse" and "Saintpeelers" show that the band is at the top of their game and far ahead of their peers. "Darker Handcraft" is an album that bites, punches, strangles, and mauls, and damn does it feel good.