[Evertrapped] – The Last Extinction Review

If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is a failure. But what if the fish really wants to climb that tree, despite the fins, the scales, the asphyxiation, everything that the world has set up to nudge it down a different path? Montreal’s [Evertrapped] spent a decade pushing dime-a-dozen melodeath (of the gas-mask variety) and don’t have much to show for it, but not for a lack of trying. On their fourth album, The Last Extinction, their hearts are in the right place; it’s their overall direction that needs a course correction.

Even the most casual observer will note several immediate dichotomies on opener “Sorrow (Nothing More in Between):” long, not drawn out; angry, not affecting; melodic, not hooky. These each play out across the album in their own special way, but no more apparent than on a seven-and-a-half minute opening track with a ferocious start and a forgettable finish. [Evertrapped]’s efforts, at least initially, warrant a so-so. Semi-melodic Chunk o’ Riff soup tastes of continental Europe, replete with smothering production and pissed-off-beehive axe buzz. Eric Lemire’s drum skills stand out from the get-go, though he often suffers from doing too much. When you throw in the long-form construction, you wind up with something akin to an angrier Lahmia, at least in concept.

When you dig deeper though, you’re not able to get very far before striking rock. Blocky rhythms permanently stuck between gallop and chug? Amorphous song construction pockmarked by shoehorned lead digressions to nowhere? Meathead bellows and scything screams one moment and cringeworthy cleans the next? All within a sound profile lacking only camo shorts a gas mask sun’s-out-guns-out cut-offs the mellow in mellowdeath? Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

The biggest detractor, somehow, is the record’s length. At 58 minutes, The Last Extinction is far too long for a sound this generic. [Evertrapped]’s strength, the one that could carry a record, lies in their rhythms. There are cool moments embedded across the record where they tunnel into a riff, smother you with the so-fucking-bricked production, and beat it into you until you’re shitting wallet chains. But pummeling done like this stylistically puts them much closer to your average death metal band than your average melodeath band. Do you know what your average death metal band doesn’t do? Pad their riffs. It feels like [Evertrapped] try to be Shylmagoghnar while trapped in the body of a melodeath Lamb of God without any of the riffs at the sake of their own momentum. Progressive sidequests and wanderings leave song construction in tatters without amplifying any of the elements around them. There’s no natural builds or blow-offs, no meaningful surprises or changes, not a damn hook in the tackle box. Thanks to the impermeable production, the gas pedal feels taped to the floor at all times, even when it’s not. Worse, that’s somehow the better option given the atrocious cleans and nu-metal voiceovers in the rearview mirror.

All that is to say that [Evertrapped], a band that previously released a song entitled “The Mass Inf3ction,” may be ever-trapped in the wrong genre. It isn’t hard to see directions like that of “Titan” working marvelously—just not as progressive melodeath. The heat of this rhythmic brick oven already melts everything around it. How difficult is it to lean into that? On any other record, I’d say the production is so fucking backed up that it would require a double dose of Exlax to even approach acceptability. Here? It plays up the steamroller mystique.

This runs counter to the usual advice found on this site, but dumb it down, Lupe. It’s easy to imagine a shorter version of The Last Extinction with more memorable material that comes as a result of more focused songwriting and a more suitable intent tying it all together—and, for the love of Stanne, cut the cleans. Present results suggest [Evertrapped] may one day find capability on this course, but always with feet rooted to the floor and the ceiling a long way off. Without a body-swap plot to rescue them, I can’t see this fish climbing that tree, now or ever.

Rating: 1.5/5.0
DR: 4 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Hellstorm Recordz
Websites: evertrapped.bandcamp.com | evertrapped.com | facebook.com/evertrapped
Releases Worldwide: May 22nd, 2020

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