Released: 2014, Prosthetic Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Three years and one new rhythm section after their third album, and first for Prosthetic, the deliciously gritty Darker Handcraft, Trap Them return with more of the same, but with a slightly different approach.
Once again working under the direction of Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou, Trap Them are in their ragged glory on Blissfucker – as the title would seem to indicate, although their true intent there is certainly open to interpretation. New bassist Galen Baudhuin and drummer Brad Fickeisen join founding vocalist Ryan McKenney and guitarist Brian Izzi here and seem right at home pounding away under Izzi’s buzz-sawing, old Dismember-meets-Black Flag riffing and McKenney's mad dog bellow.
While not as ceaselessly balls out as Hardcraft, Blissfucker still is a bludgeoning affair that runs roughshod out of the gate with “Salted Crypts” and grinds along for much of the rest of the way. The frantic “Lungrunners” and the blast beat-driven “Former Lining Wide The Walls” - the titles are all pretty obtuse here – certainly bring the velocity while the boot-stomp hooks of “Gift and Gift Unsteady” and “Sanitations” effectively work the ribs.
But sludgy about faces on “Habitland” and “Bad Nones” break up some of the relentlessness that made Hardcraft seem somewhat single-minded, and the album concludes with a series of more dramatic left-hand turns that offer quite a contrast. “Savage Climbers” is a lumbering, concussive opus that at seven-plus minutes is the band's longest yet – and about twice as long as their typical tune. It segues into the sparse intro of “Ransom Risen” that then erupts into intermittent grindy bursts and McKenney's anguished screams before setting back into relative quiet. “Let Fall Each and Every Sedition Symptom” ends things by riding a trudging groove for five minutes before abruptly devolving into hail of white noise.
A different sequence that sprinkled these tracks throughout, instead of delivering them one after the other at the end, would have perhaps made the stylistic shifting less abrupt and jarring. But since abrupt and jarring is part of Trap Them’s M.O., it not only makes sense, it offers nifty, startling finish.