Release date: June 10, 2014 | Prosthetic Records | Bandcamp

The intersection of crust punk and grindcore might as well be one of those memes where the two burly men clasp hands, and in the middle it would say ‘filthy crunchy riffs’. That’s exactly what you’re getting here, a towering helping of them in fact. But wait, there’s more! They come with a side of oppressing atmosphere and bleak lyricism. Sounds like your order? Well come on down to Blissfucker by Trap Them, where we curb stomp your sense of optimism while bludgeoning you with the most crusty grind sound you could hope for!

Broc Nelson

In 2014, I was firmly establishing myself as a metal connoisseur. It was an obsession. My college years (and several after that) were so focused on following indie rock trends that I all but ignored metal and hardcore, my former mainstays for listening. From 2011 up until maybe like two years ago, I followed every heavy music website and record label I could handle. There are many bands and albums that remain essential to me from that time, and Trap Them was high in the rankings for favorites.

It was 2011’s Darker Handcraft that introduced me to the band. I loved the crusty, d-beat hardcore rage on that album. Then I heard Black Breath’s Sentenced To Life and for a moment there, all I did was listen to that and Trap Them. So, when Blissfucker came out in 2014, I was overly excited. I was working as a bartender at the time and as soon as the doors shut, I cranked Blissfucker and listened twice while mopping and knocking back shift beers.

Don’t tell my boss, but I probably did a shitty job closing that night. The breakdown that leads to a double time rhythm in the middle of “Organic Infernal” almost made me launch a barstool when I was putting it up.

There was bliss to be had and bliss to be fucked in this record. While the rage and angst were perfect for shutting down a bar (I always had way too much pent up frustration, even after a good bar shift), there was a noticeable change for Trap Them. These songs were, generally, slower and more sludgey than Darker Handcraft. “Bad Nones” is practically a doom song compared to their earlier work. There was still enough frenzy to do damage, but I didn’t like Blissfucker as much as Darker Handcraft, at first.

My feeling about Blissfucker was similar to my feeling about the latest SECT album, Plagues Upon Plagues. Here, a great crusty metalcore band slows things down? Yet ultimately these dynamics are what made me like each album more.

As the years have gone by, though, Blissfucker grew on me. I listen to it as much as Darker Handcraft these days. How can you deny “Ransom Risen” as an amazing song? The crescendos, the fury, the perfect interplay between the newfound slower parts and classic punishing speed? The way it transitions into “Let Fall Each And Every Sedition Symptom”? What an absolute stunner of an album’s b-side! Like, it is damn-near perfect, ending like an avalanche.

Trap Them will remain a seminal band for me. Last year I had a total loss of my record collection. I won’t go into details, but in brief, fuck slumlords. I had close to 900 albums, and afterwards, the (mostly) metal community came through and donated a bunch of records to help me rebuild my collection. I got tears when I saw Trap Them included in the stack. So, as a final thought, remember that as angry and nihilistic as metal and hardcore can sound, there is a deep community into this music. Seek it out, and be careful with barstools.

Eeli Helin

Imagine going to a festival after finding out the single day tickets are sold out and the only way you can (legally) get in on a specific day is to get the three day ticket, and there’s literally only one band you very much would like to see live, playing amongst the first acts on the first day, and you end up paying a three figure sum just for that single thirty-minute set, and you don’t regret a thing afterwards, especially because the band abruptly called it quits mere months after.

Trap Them turned out to be a formative band to me, and highly influential in the way that I view aggression in music. Aptly, their fourth album Blissfucker was the first I ever heard of them, and it probably arrived in my life at a very crucial time, in hindsight. The older you get, the less room there is for surprises in any capacity, and I think the reason Blissfucker hit me so profoundly was that I was in this sort of a ‘discovery fog’, where I was just jumping from one thing to the other without allowing anything to really grab me, unless it possessed the might to do that on its own. I’ve gotten a long way from that these days as I don’t actively try to find anything new, practically ever anymore, but get to things on my own pace and make up my mind based on what it is that I’m listening to, instead of my expectations based on nothing. But enough with my metaphysical bullshit, this is about Trap Them.

To my understanding, limited or not, the band made some rather hefty waves throughout their existence and managed to cement their position in the hardcore scene to a great degree, thanks to their unrivaled ability to infuse a relentless aural battery with memorable hooks and a production that’s simultaneously unbelievably abrasive yet clear and punchy. Each of their albums have their own tonal main motifs, too, so it’s not like they would’ve just stumbled upon some good mixture and spread it out over five 11 and a few smaller releases. Instead – and without sacrificing their integrity or singularity – the quartet challenged themselves on each album and pushed themselves on their own territory, maybe not forward or backwards, but sideways. And the wiggle room they were able to utilise was far greater than you could anticipate reasonably, especially in the hc/grind/pv realm.

Blissfucker is a monumental album, with it’s tandem-like dance between fast grindy bursts of violence and near-unbearably heavy low-end doom barrage, where every nuance and detail conjoin to each other in a serpentine fashion. Everything makes absolute sense, and everything sounds absolutely fucking brilliant. Each member are nothing short of gods on their respective instruments and positions, and being able to push and pull each other to the extent demonstrated on Blissfucker is, simply put, ridiculous. I’m not going into detail with each song and why that is, but I’d urge you to take the album for another spin (granted you are aware of it, if not, you should probably fix that) and focus on the individual components comprising the entirety, to find a new kind of appreciation towards it.

Ever since this feature was announced, I’ve been pulling off some proper geezer moves and listening to the album from a CD in my car during my commutes, and while it feels like I’ve been just flying from point A to point B, it’s probably not exactly the most pedestrian friendly thing to listen to while driving. It’s been a joy to keep rediscovering Blissfucker and Trap Them as a whole, and each spin feels like returning back home and meeting familiar faces after elongated absence. It’s just that good.

Toni Meese

Trap Them‘s album Blissfucker, released in 2014, is a significant milestone in crusty hardcore – for the scene, but also for me personally. It showcases the band’s evolution and solidifies their place within the genre. This record is an abrasive, relentless assault on the senses, melding elements of hardcore, grindcore, and death metal into a cohesive, punishing sound. Blissfucker is a game-changer for Trap Them. It not only encapsulates the essence of their aggressive style, but it also marks a pivotal moment in their discography that influenced a wave of bands in the hardcore and extreme music scenes.

Listening to Blissfucker is an experience like no other. It’s like being engulfed by a sonic hurricane! The album kicks off with “Salted Crypts,” immediately plunging listeners into a maelstrom of blistering guitar riffs, aggressive drumming, and Ryan McKenney’s guttural, anguished vocals. This sets the tone for the rest of the album, which rarely offers a moment of respite. Songs like “Habitland” and “Lungrunners” continue this relentless pace, each track seamlessly blending into the next, creating an immersive and chaotic listening experience that’s absolutely incredible!

One of the album’s standout aspects is the production, handled by Kurt Ballou of Converge, who is renowned for his work in the hardcore and metal scenes. Ballou’s production style enhances Trap Them‘s brutal sound, giving the album a raw, yet polished edge that’s simply amazing! The guitars are sharp and abrasive, the drums hit with bone-crushing force, and the vocals are mixed in a way that they cut through the sonic wall of noise. This collaboration with Ballou was a crucial element in achieving the album’s distinct sound, and it was well worth the wait!

If you want to truly understand the essence of Blissfucker, you better experienced Trap Them live – if you haven’t, bummer. Their shows were an incredible, visceral experience where the energy of the album was magnified tenfold. The band’s live performances are legendary for their intensity and raw power. Ryan McKenney was a force of nature on stage, and his energy is infectious. He often blurs the line between performer and audience, diving into the crowd, screaming face-to-face with fans, and creating an atmosphere of chaos and camaraderie. The sweat, the noise, and the palpable energy make each show an unforgettable event, a cathartic release for both the band and their audience.

Influence-wise, Trap Them draws heavily from a diverse array of genres and bands, showcasing their versatility and passion for music. The ferocity and raw energy of hardcore bands like Black Flag and Discharge are evident throughout the album, and it’s a wild ride! At the same time, the technical precision and brutal intensity of grindcore bands such as Napalm Death and Brutal Truth are integral to their sound, and they really bring it! Additionally, there are elements of Swedish death metal, particularly in the guitar tones and riff structures, reminiscent of bands like Entombed and Dismember, which is pretty cool. This incredible amalgamation of influences results in a sound that is both familiar and innovative, paying homage to the band’s predecessors while pushing the boundaries of extreme music.

Lyrically, Blissfucker delves into themes of existential dread, societal decay, and personal anguish. McKenney’s vocal delivery, a blend of growls and screams, conveys a sense of desperation and rage that perfectly complements the album’s bleak lyrical content. The lyrics are often abstract and cryptic, adding to the overall sense of chaos and unease that permeates the record. This thematic approach is reflective of the band’s intention to create music that is as intellectually engaging as it is sonically punishing — and it totally works!

Blissfucker had a huge impact on the hardcore and extreme music scenes, inspiring a whole new generation of bands to push the boundaries of aggression and intensity in their music. The album’s incredible fusion of hardcore, grindcore, and death metal elements set a new standard for what could be achieved within these genres. Bands such as Full of Hell, Nails, and Cult Leader have cited Trap Them as a major influence, particularly in how they approach songwriting and production. Blissfucker showed the world that it was possible to create music that was both viscerally aggressive and meticulously crafted, a balance that many bands strive to achieve.

Furthermore, the album’s success helped to elevate the profile of Prosthetic Records, which has been home to numerous influential hardcore and metal bands. Blissfucker helped the label gain a reputation for releasing cutting-edge, genre-defining music, and it also helped to draw attention to other bands within the label’s roster. In retrospect, Blissfucker stands as a testament to Trap Them‘s ability to evolve and push the boundaries of their sound. It is a brutal, uncompromising album that captures the essence of the band’s musical vision. Its influence can be heard in the work of countless bands that have followed in their footsteps, making it a seminal release in the realm of extreme music. As time goes on, Blissfucker continues to be revered as a landmark album, a sonic embodiment of rage and despair that remains as powerful and relevant today as it was upon its release. You’ll be blown away by this album, no matter if you’re listening to it on speakers or experiencing it live in the chaos of a mosh pit. It’s an unforgettable journey into the heart of sonic extremity!

Dominik Böhmer

Dominik Böhmer

Pretentious? Moi?

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