“Hardcore is boring, hardcore is samey, hardcore has had its day”. This is what people who don’t know much about hardcore will tell you.
Baltimore’s Trapped Under Ice will disagree with these people. Sure, they might have taken their name from one of the worst songs on Metallica‘s Ride the Lightning, but they know a thing or two about producing a form of music many have repeatedly tried to declare dead.
Trapped Under Ice have been far from prolific during their ten-year career and it has actually been six whole years since their last studio release, but this album was well worth waiting for.
Hardcore is genius in its simplicity. Hardcore bands see no need for extravagant solos and musical masturbation, they see no need in eight minute Medieval-sounding acoustic guitar intros and they see no need in vocal gymnastics. It’s simple, fast, warts and all, angry songs that are surprisingly infectious.
Trapped Under Ice have really embraced the hardcore ethos with Heatwave. It’s 11 songs and lasts under 14 minutes, so they clearly aren’t hanging about.
While many metal bands resorted to tuning their instruments down half an octave in a bid to sound heavier, many hardcore bands pulled it off without messing about. Listen to the breakdowns and the riffs on this album and you’ll feel an instinct to bang your head as hard as possible, and rightly so. The riff on Do It is especially excellent for this. Trapped Under Ice prove that you don’t need guttural growling and blast beats to make some of the heaviest music in the world.
And in a rare departure for bands from a scene with a heavily DIY ethic and an attitude of getting it done as cheaply as possible, Heatwave is incredibly well produced. For instance you can very clearly hear the bass on this record which is sadly nearly inaudible on a lot of hardcore offerings. It’s difficult to choose a favourite or a weak track from those on offer here – they’re all blindingly good.
So, yes, this album is a must for any fans of heavy music of any variety; hardcore has long been the lesser-trodden bridge between punk and metal and it really doesn’t receive the credit it deserves.
Trapped Under Ice show that good hardcore exists outside of the main scenes of Boston, LA and New York and with Heatwave they’ve produced perhaps a genre-defining moment.
It took longer to write this review than the length of the album itself and by the time you’ve read this far you could already be on track 5 if you’d started listening from the first sentence, but that isn’t a criticism. Trapped Under Ice have with Heatwave produced 11 songs that are short, sharp bursts of hardcore power that’ll make you listen to it four times an hour, every hour.
Reader album rating: [ratings]
Score: 9 out of 10
- No Relief
- Do It
- Throw It Away
- Pressure Is On
- Slow Death
- Other Side
Release date: 21st July 2017
Label: Pop Wig Records