Seattle/New Hampshire-based Trap Them has been ballyhooed as a potent newcomer in the "extreme" metal scene, a classification that makes more sense once you've been exposed to the quartet's brutal new epiphany of an album, Seizures in Barren Praise.
Seizures writhes in a kind of convulsive pissiness, anchored and split to shards on the waves of vocalist Ryan Mckenney's fierce howls and growls. It's the sequel, in essence, to the group's 2007 triad of releases beginning with their self-titled 7-inch, followed by their full-length debut Sleepwell Deconstructor. Their third release of '07 was their Deathwish debut, Séance Prime, a deadly potion of heavy ferocity, and a siren call that a new hardcore sheriff was in town.
Their latest finds the band continuing the saga by way of a story of a fictional ghost town, Barren Praise, in which those who've chosen to stay in the town are reporting on the imminent doom laid out before them. If you're hoping for this to be an easy notion to pick up on, you're wrong. Mckenney's rambling scrawls feel more like aimless Facebook-blog fuckery than intellectual prose. Vocally, the album ultimately disappears into the shadows, which (luckily) invites some of the hairiest riffs since Converge's When Forever Comes Crashing, then weaves in and out of more stolid instrumental expanses before ushering the crushing blow of filthy tone and lightning-in-a-bottle doom on tracks like "Flesh and Below."
The band's pedigree alone is worth noting, with guitarist Brian Izzi having been a member of December Wolves, and drummer Mike Justian having manned the kit for Unearth and Shai Hulud. But underground credentials or no, Trap Them's prog-metal dirges and arbitrary math-metal luster have only recently been given a new beacon in the mainstream by bands like Fucked Up. Trap Them have exploded onto a scene sorely in need of novelty, and with the quickness of their ascent as hardcore saviors, in that ambiguously detached faction of music dwellers, praise probably has little do with it, barren or not.