Trapped Under Ice - Big Kiss Goodnight (Cover Artwork)

Trapped Under Ice

Big Kiss Goodnight (2011)

Reaper Records

In 2009, a couple months before Trapped Under Ice released their breakthrough album, Secrets of the World, I saw them perform in San Francisco, Calif. as part of the 10 for $10 tour, which featured hardcore heavyweights like Bane, Poison the Well and Terror. Trapped Under Ice weren't headliners at this point, and were still promoting their critically lauded Stay Cold seven-inch. Most of the concertgoers weren't aware of who Trapped Under Ice were, but those who did possessed the fervor of Terror disciples. With such a small musical output and such a devout following, all indicators pointed to Trapped Under Ice's success.

Despite the unrelenting anger vocalist Justin Tripp spews on his band's newest full length, Trapped Under Ice have a lot to be happy about. In just a few years they've catapulted themselves from relative seven-inch obscurity to headlining tours. And while the band has faced a certain amount of backlash in their new found status as a household name in hardcore (whatever that means), such baseless negativity usually just points to the band's successes. In fact, Big Kiss Goodnight makes the case that Trapped Under Ice has compromised little in their development, but has only grown into more efficient officiators of anger.

One of the main differences between Big Kiss Goodnight and its predecessor is its openness to conventional song structures. Tracks like "You and I" and "Born to Die" follow a verse-chorus formula that ought to make them sound tired, even radio-friendly, but siphoned through the band's unabated energy maintain a hefty level of ferocity that will should scare away any AFI fans. Most of the songs contained on Big Kiss could be considered catchy; however, there are still heavy-hitters like "Time Waits" and "Still Cold" that sound raw and heavy enough to be extensions of tracks from Secrets of the World. Whereas Secrets of the World took a few listens to fully appreciate, the song structures on Big Kiss Goodnight make it instantly gratifying from the first listen.

Simply put, Big Kiss Goodnight is an excellent record that firmly establishes Trapped Under Ice in the upper echelon of hardcore. While I have to admit it does not sound quite as fresh as Secrets of the World did when it was released two years ago, Big Kiss Goodnight adds a focused dimension to the band that wasn't present before. Haters will continue to hate, and so will Trapped Under Ice.