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Music Review: Trapped Under Ice – Big Kiss Goodnight

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Distance and “staying cold” is the order of the day with Trapped Under Ice, the Baltimore hardcore act. With their sophomore record, Big Kiss Goodnight, there’s really not much to it beyond the aloofness. Consider it distant hardcore, I suppose.

The trouble with a lot of hardcore music is its monotony on record. Sure, this stuff goes bananas when you’re tumbling around a mosh pit with a bunch of clammy shirtless dudes. But in the sense of sitting down and listening to something, there’s very little in the world of hardcore that fits the bill. Sooner or later, the tedious nature of the genre rears its noisy head. Big Kiss Goodnight is no different. You can decide if that’s a flaw or not.

Trapped Under Ice is very much concerned with the “street” approach to things. They are aloof and pissed off, sure, but their lack of content leaves a lot to be desired.

Vocalist Justice Tripp shouts his way through everything, but the trouble is that he lacks a distinctive tone to call his own. The band gathers well enough behind him and they toss in a few tempo shifts and breakdowns for good measure, but they’re not doing anything overly remarkable.

Big Kiss Goodnight, the follow-up to 2009’s Secrets of the World, boasts 13 tracks and clocks in at around 33 minutes. The process is familiar by about the midway point, sadly, and TUI doesn’t step up to originate or offer anything new until the Agnostic Front-kissed “You and I.”

The lethargic tale of having nobody to rely on and of “staying cold” to the world kicks off with “Born to Die,” a track that features gang vocals and a couple of good tempo shifts.

More of the same follows on cuts like “Jail” and “Still Cold.” The songs are nearly identical, lacking in uniqueness and essence. It doesn’t help that the message remains the same; perhaps a deeper approach would have benefitted the material.

“Reality Unfolds,” the last track on Big Kiss Goodnight, is perhaps the only moment of invention to be found. Justice is up to some decent vocal tricks that he should definitely experiment with more often, especially when it comes to playing with the cadence of his words, and the breakdowns are dense and substantial.

Overall, though, Big Kiss Goodnight is too samey to recommend. It might do well on a summer day with plenty of testosterone in the air, but as an album it’s not all that listenable.

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About Jordan Richardson

  • Chris

    Well, good sir, I’ll have to agree to disagree with you on this. My problem with hardcore is, like you stated, the monotony and repetitiveness, and nothing worth REALLY listening to, but I found this album to be exactly the opposite. I thought this album really broke out of the monotony.

  • El Taco

    Leave it up, to some douchey snotty Canadian writer that wants to impress everyone to get a job at Pitchfork! Here’s a novel idea for you! Stop reviewing, metal and hardcore records that actually sound really catchy and much different than well ok most the pack that exists? Have you ever experienced a hardcore show in the last 10 years? No I don’t think you have since you want to blow Pitchforks staff for a job. However I do agree, that hardcore has been repetitive, and filed with monotony. Otherwise, your opinion lacks any creative argument since your head is up your ass. Leave to a Canadian asshole writer to bash things….

  • jacob

    this is the most original hardcore record of the decade. you’re mistaking their success in creating an identity for themselves as monotony