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Trap Them – Blissfucker

It’s a hot summer night and I’m fucking pissed. Today has been one long-ass litany of micro- and macro-aggressions: poor drivers, car troubles, long bike rides up hills trying to get home from work, steaming asphalt, assholes at the grocery store. Stewing in disgust for the world, I haul my sweaty carcass back to my house without air conditioning. This isn’t a stylistic descriptor, either: this is real, this is stream of consciousness. Tuesdays in general suck, but this one in particular has taken the fucking cake. I’m hot and I’m tired and I’m ravenous and I need to get up early as hell in the morning to drive to work in a car that’s on its last legs. My patience wears thin.

It might, in that case, seem counterintuitive that what I need more than anything else in this world is a lethal dose of American hatred. Most people would want something soothing for a crappy day; jazz or perhaps psych to assuage the murderous impulse. I, however, am not most people, and my tastes require something visceral to remind me that, at the end of the shitty, shitty day, I remain alive and vital. Enter the latest from Trap Them, the aptly named Blissfucker.

Now, Trap Them and I go way back: I remember seeing them at a rathole community center in my hometown in 2007, a cramped room with (coincidentally) no air conditioning in the midst of a blistering Kentucky summer. They ripped the place to shreds. Teenage Rhys was stunned: “How did I not see this coming?” From that moment on, “Trap Them” became, in my mind, synonymous with unbridled vitriol. I saw them four times in the following six years, and each time it was harsher, crueler, and more desperate. Above all, it was devoted to that black god, the Boss HM-2.

In 2014, we now have Blissfucker. This album is rage distilled. Its production is thick and harsh, the sound of drowning in a sea of chainsaws. The HM-2 “Entombedcore” sound has been played out, but Trap Them, like Black Breath and Nails, have a conviction that makes them sound fresh. Perhaps this is because each of these bands borrow from a separate musical style to augment their Swedish death metal base: Trap Them is punk rock, Nails is grindcore, Black Breath is hardcore. Seriously, put on a track like “Gift and Gift Unsteady” and tell me that Trap Them doesn’t have at least a passing fancy for Fugazi. Ryan Izzi is never afraid to let his trademark buzzsaw attack develop some flavor. On “Savage Climbers” and “Ransom Risen,” he almost dabbles in post-metal, like Godspeed You! Dismember. And holy shit, Ryan McKenney sounds SO DISGUSTED WITH THE GODDAMN WORLD. Listen to him at the conclusion of “Habitland.” Many vocalists try to sound that full of limitless contempt, but a select, unholy few can bring it. On “Blissfucker,” McKenney brings the fucking war.

I’m feeling better now. It’s clear that some people have deeper wounds than I do. As Batman would observe, “Maybe ordinary people don’t always crack.” This time will pass, and tomorrow will continue, and things may well resolve themselves one day but not all in one day. “Blissfucker,” however, is now eternal, a testament to a singular moment of discord and loathing writ large for hardcore kids to play while punching holes through their bedroom walls for years to come. That moment, that time, there was nothing but rage. Rage and the familiar sound of that buzzsaw guitar, dragging discordant riffs across your veins.

— Rhys Williams

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