Trapped Under Ice – Big Kiss Goodnight
Big Kiss Goodnight is the unusually named title of the second album by Baltimore’s metallic hardcore wrecking machine Trapped Under Ice. Seems pretty hard to believe it was only 2007 when they burst onto the worldwide hardcore map with a demo that mixed elements of classic NY riffs and breaks with heavy beatdowns. 2008’s Stay Cold got the band touring across America, and then Europe for the first time in support of the Dirty Money split. Their first full length album Secrets Of The World showed that TUI still had plenty more to give, and really broke them into the big name they are in the hardcore scene today. The real question is how does their latest record Big Kiss Goodnight continue to set them apart from the other bands in this recent surge of ‘hardstyle’ bands?
First track ‘Born To Die’ initially represents a bit of a change for TUI, showing off a more polished sound than their previous efforts. That trademark ‘rough’ guitar tone sounds fuller and heavier for the first time, and the catchy hook of the chorus (another first for TUI?) brings to mind the anthemic sing along’s of some of hardcore’s most legendary bands. Building on their previous Gut Instinct-esque sound, and infusing it with riffs that wouldn’t sound out of place on the likes of a Biohazard record, ‘Born To Die’ is also the first single release from Big Kiss Goodnight, and definitely represents a more focused and mature attitude to song writing than we are used to from the Maryland five piece. Singer Justice’s vocals have also changed subtley on this new record, with more of a raspy tone than his previous spoken style, and even some singing that would fit right into a Crown Of Thornz song. Despite initial misgivings, the new vocal style does work well along side the improved writing style, and this may at least in part be owed to Big Kiss Goodnight being produced by Chad Gilbert (I shouldn’t have to name drop his current and ex bands, right?), and the crazily diverse touring TUI has done over the last couple of years, with everyone from Hatebreed to less obvious companions such as Despised Icon. Fear not however, those of you half way through listening to Born To Die for the first time, and worrying that the TUI of old is disappearing, as they remind you exactly what they have always been about with a mammoth breakdown to finish the track.
To me at least, Big Kiss Goodnight is different from their previous stuff in that I wasn’t able to pick it up and immediately feel like I wanted to swing my arms and legs around violently on first listen. I was very excited for the album, and I sorta jumped in with pre-conceptions of what it should sound like, which stopped me from enjoying it all immediately. However, the record has definitely grown on me over time (just ask Pim how long it took me to do this review) and after repeated listening I’ve increasingly found fresh appreciation for the heavy riffs TUI are still creating and even the singing bits. Make no mistake, this record is very good when you consider it over time. TUI’s style of hardcore is a genre you could point the finger at for having a lot of bands that sound very similar, so the second album for one of the front runners in the genre has got to be tough to write. But I think they may have just succeeded in keeping people’s attention with this record by injecting fresh life into their production and song writing, without straying too far from that heavy handed metallic edge that got them there in the first place.Back to reviews overview