Album Review: Trap Them – Crown Feral

Album Review: Trap Them – Crown Feral

Band: Trap Them
Album: Crown Feral
Genre: You wouldn’t get it man
Date Of Release: 23/09/2016
Location: Boston + Seattle
Reviewer: Mitch Alexander
For Fans Of: Converge, Day Nineteen: Fucking Viva by Trap Them, The Armed

Track Listing:
1. Kindred Dirt
2. Hellionaires
3. Prodigala
4. Luster Pendulums
5. Malengines Here, Where They Should Be
6. Speak Nigh
7. Twitching In The Auras
8. Revival Spines
9. Stray of the Tongue
10. Phantom Air

The first two minutes of this album had me worried. “The only groups who should get ‘introspective’ or ‘pensive’ on later releases are the ones who warned you on previous occasions that they might, like Opeth or Carly Rae Jepsen. A rollicking nihilist grind powerviolence hardcore/whatever band like Trap Them have no business being thoughtful!”, I proudly thought to myself as I festered in my unwashed Nails longsleeve, the one that’s the Joy Divison mountain-range shirt for super cool people who like deliberately shit mixes. Turns out I was too busy enjoying being a smug and self-indulgent Ballou Bro, because after about three minutes and four songs into the album, I realised that not only had Trap Them not turned into that band (it was just a misstep of an opening track), but that maybe they should have.

All the elements are in place for me to love this CD. I have adored everything Trap Them have done before this; the song ‘Day 19’ is a work of art, the lyrics are actual poetry, and I will throat punch any uncouth swine who disagrees. I don’t think any other band has ever really gotten the balance so right between generating a dark and depressing vibe while maintaining a frenetic and violent energy. Part of it has to do with the oppressive and demented lyrics (seriously, they’re only beaten by Keith Buckley of Every Time I Die), part of it is the signature vocal style and guitar tone, and partly it’s got to do with the punk-rock-riff meets hair-metal-licks which typifies pretty much every song they’ve written (except ‘Day 19’, which is a Nintendo Seal Of Approval Fucking Banger that you should look up right now). Crown Feral has plugged all those elements in all the right places, but I’m honestly not sure if they’ve missed the mark somehow, or I’m just burnt out on what they’re doing.

Where do you lay blame when you’re simply not excited by a release which is exactly what you’d want the band to put out? I’d ask a Slayer fan but they’re all mewling fuckheads. There’s just not any of those sections, the ones Trap Them usually fill an album with, where I get all giddy and full of energy and my jaw drops or twists into a grin and everything is just vicious. Are the riffs on Crown Feral a sad self-parody, squeezed out of a tired band’s cloaca in a desperate attempt to stay on the touring circuit long enough to grind out a minimum wage without developing any employable skills? Or am I an overly judgemental opinion-bin of a human, who can do nothing but cynically compare songs to a time in my distant past where I believe music was somehow always better, with the reality of the situation being that music has always been mostly garbage, but instead of jaded cynicism I was listening to it with a youthful exuberance that coloured the experience, an exuberance that has long since suffocated and died?

What if I’m just tired, and in a week’s time this becomes my Album Of The Year? It amazes me that after doing reviews for so many years I can still find things to hate about them and the people that do them; not only is this just some blowhard’s worthless opinion, but this opinion might change at any time, as opinions are want to do, and fucked if I’m going back over every review I’ve ever written, just to see if I still agree with it. Why should my feelings about this album, the feelings I have when I write this review which may change at any time, be the ones that people can look up in six years’ time and think they are in any way indicative of the music the band has written?

Here’s the thing – as someone who is already a fan of this band, I will very likely buy this album when it comes out, and keep listening to it. I’ll either let it grow on me like those mites in your eyelashes who each lay about 25 eggs on your eyelid, every night (an actual thing), or I’ll just let it quietly leave my life without much fanfare or sadness, like Dad. But so far as finishing this review goes, it would be dishonest for me to tell you I liked Crown Feral, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t say I thought it was my fault. Every Trap Them trait is present and accounted for, so you might really like it. It’s only a half hour long, and streaming on Youtube right now, so go test it out yourself.

Vocals: 7/10
Lyrics: 8/10
Guitar: 7/10
Bass: 7/10
Percussion: 6/10
Songwriting: 7/10
Production: 7?/10
Personal Enjoyment: I can’t remember the last time I smiled/10
Overall IPHYB Rating: 7/10

Standout Tracks: None yet, maybe I’ll update this next week

(Addendum: I listened to this album again while editing the word vomit above, and found I already liked it more than I did yesterday. Feel free to mentally add 0.3 to every score listed above, and never take another review seriously again.)

Album Review: Trap Them – Crown Feral
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