I thought we had lost Trap Them. After the release of Blissfucker and after the departure of drummer Chris Maggio who had played on the two most successful and accomplished albums, Seizure in barren praise and Darker handcraft, it seems the energy and creativity was completely gone. Blissfucker was a lifeless album with uninspiring beats and songs that dragged on for too long. With a total run time equal to the total of Sleepwell deconstructor and Seizure in barren praise, and a conclusion where the band had gone back to reference one of their own songs from their first album, the picture painted by the then king of crusty Swedish Death metal was quite bleak, and not for good reason.
With Crown feral, Trap Them does exactly what it announces and goes for the throat of every band created in their wake. From Baptists to Razoreater, many have tried to sound like Trap Them but only they are capable of writing some of the best songs created outside of the Sunlight studio. Brian Izzi had never found writing excellent riffs difficult from his time in December Wolves to now and he shows it once again by shredding his way through the blast pulled by Brad Fickeisen (The Red Chord) who has found much inspiration in the style of its predecessor. Nothing revolutionary but an effective way of taking inspiration from Ben Koller (Converge) without sounding like him (Luster pendulum).
At thirty minutes, Crown feral is exactly what you expect from a Trap Them album with a slightly more Metal beat. The pristine Swedish crunch is as effective as usual. Ryan McKenney does not bark as much as usual and leaves more room for the songs, and for him, to breathe. On tour he seemed to struggle to keep up with his vocal lines. Here he shows he does not need to be heard at two seconds to make his presence known.
After Darker handcraft, Crown feral might have felt a bit repetitive but after a disappointing album, this sounds like a perfect return to form filled with excellent songs that won’t be out of place on the band’s set-list. Only a song like Twitching in the aura brings a slightly different shade of darkness to the table by slowing down and introducing a ghost like melody reminiscent of Xasthur‘s material. However, Crown feral is overall an album that finds of Trap Them will welcome like an old friend and will prove to all who doubted that the Americans can still write excellent songs.