Review Summary: Still cold.
There’s no doubt that Trapped Under Ice are one of modern hardcore’s flagship bands. Inspired by bands such as Breakdown and Floorpunch, the Baltimore crew dominated the scene in the late 2000’s and early 2010’s with their catchy and gruff songs. 2011’s Big Kiss Goodnight
was the band’s magnum opus, displaying the group’s meat-and-potatoes hardcore at its finest with riffs, shouted vocals and breakdowns. Then, in 2013, the band went on hiatus in order for its members to focus on other projects. Their two most prominent side projects, Turnstile and Angel Du$t, went on to capture the hearts of hardcore fans even further. The two bands experimented with influences such as funk, alternative rock and earlier 1980’s hardcore bands to create similarly catchy but more light-hearted and irreverent music. Now, returning to TUI six years on since their previous album, it seems that the band has carried these new influences onto Heatwave
The most immediately striking thing about Heatwave
is that it doesn’t hang around: the album manages to tear through 11 songs in 14 minutes with no track exceeding 100 seconds in length, very much similar in style to singer Jurtice Tripp’s other band Angel Du$t. In a few cases, this proves to be a weakness in the album. Songs like “Pressure Is On” or “Other Side” simply go by far too quickly with too few distinguishing features in order to make them stand out. However, for the most part, this straight-forward fashion of song writing is gripping and attention-grabbing. “Backstabbed” makes for a blistering opening track, and lead single “Do It” bounces along with flair and energy, reflecting the band’s inspirations and contemporaries such as Bad Brains, early Cro-Mags and Krimewatch. The straightforward manner also makes for a refreshing change from the band’s slower, lumbering style that dominated the group’s earlier works, although this is not to say that remnants of their earlier characteristics no longer exist on Heatwave
. “No Relief” and “Slow Death” brings back the swagger and heaviness that the group made their name on with their familiar throaty vocals and menacing breakdowns, and the introduction to “XL” is reminiscent of the earlier “True Love” from Big Kiss Goodnight
The brevity of Heatwave
may threaten to bring the album down, but overall Trapped Under Ice have created a record that is consistent, catchy and heavy. It shows a band that is not afraid to refine and advance their music; for a genre as clear-cut and basic as hardcore punk, TUI have carved out their own unique sound and defy the expectations of the modern hardcore scene.