Combining a guitar tone ripped straight from the amps of Stockholm death-metal stalwarts like Entombed and Dismember with the intensity of hardcore, Trap Them’s devastating 2008 salvo, Seizures in Barren Praise, poised them as new leaders in the extreme-music scene. Two and a half years and one EP later, the band members return on Darker Handcraft, and as before, they're pulsing with metal in their veins and brandishing punk on their sleeves.
Just like on their last album, Trap Them get all the little things right. The guitars thrash and rage like uncaged beasts, while new skinsman Chris Maggio gives a tight and driving performance. Every instant evokes a moshpit on the edge of the world—claustrophobic, terrifying, and teetering on the verge of chaos.
But the bigger picture is occasionally flawed. At their best, Darker Handcraft’s songs are rollicking bouts of bedlam that froth with venom and rage. But other tracks fall flat, favoring simple and uninspired chugs that grow old after a few listens.
Yet, even at its worst, Darker Handcraft rips harder than almost anything else that has come out this year so far. And for that, it deserves any metal, hardcore, or punk fans' attention. CLARK READ