One might expect a band that names itself after a vintage early 80s Metallica song to be a high top-wearing, retro-thrash act. But Baltimore’s Trapped Under Ice has far more in common with Vision of Disorder, Madball and Hatebreed than Hetfield, Mustaine and company.
One of the most punishing forces on the current hardcore scene, Trapped Under Ice’s debut full-length, “The Big Kiss Goodnight,” is a violent blitz that pays homage to classic East Coast h/c, as well as West Coast brethren Terror. The disc is due out Oct. 11 on Good Fight Records.
Frontman Justice Tripp took a few minutes out from a break at his Baltimore home to talk with Metalunderground.com about the new album, what hardcore means to him and working with New Found Glory guitarist/producer Chad Gilbert (A Day to Remember, H2O, Shai Hulud).
Driftski: So what’s been going on Justice?
Justice: We just did a festival in Detroit called the Fucking Awesome Fest, with Madball, Bane and Diamond. It was awesome. It was at the Majestic Theater and it was a three-day festival. Every room at the venue was being used. There were indie bands, metal, punk, hardcore. It was cool.
Driftski: What are your touring plans?
Justice: Our tour starts in late-October. We’re taking out Take Offense, Betrayal, Backtrack and Hunter. It’s our first full headlining tour. I’m really excited about it. We wanted to do a tour that’s a little different. We’re bringing two of our labelmates (Backtrack and Take Offense) and two other bands we like (Betrayal and Hunter). It’s cool to step outside your little circle sometimes. And then we’re going back to Europe, Australia and Japan and we’re hoping to go to South America and South Africa.
Driftski: What are your thoughts on the new album?
Justice: It shows our progression and our desire to make a different kind of record. There are some new influences in there. We wanted to do something a little more driving. Those groovy, bouncy parts hit harder when there’s more drive behind it. There are more punk influences and it’s maybe a little bit more straight ahead.
Driftski: What does the term “hardcore” mean to you?
Justice: That’s a good question. Maybe it’s not necessarily about always being hard. People confuse it and think hardcore has to be intimidating and scary. But to me it’s doing what you want with your life. It came from punk rock and to me it’s always been a more extreme version of punk rock. It’s about playing aggressive, real music and doing what you want and having an open mind to accepting all kinds of things.
Driftski: What drew you to hardcore?
Justice: It caught me at a rebellious stage in my life. I wanted to be different and do different things. I was skateboarding with my friends and Vision of Disorder was a gateway band for me. I used to love them and just loved the aggressiveness of it. My mom hated it. My brother hated it, kids at school hated it. Hatebreed too was a band that really got me into the hardcore lifestyle. I saw them and went into the pit and got bumped up. I liked the aggressiveness of it and getting involved in it physically. I could reach out and touch the singer.
Driftski: What are your favorite hardcore bands?
Justice: Crown of Thornz, Madball. Terror is a big influence on Trapped Under Ice. Also, all the bands we’ve toured with – Bane, District 9, Next Step Up. I also love punk – the Ramones. And Pennywise and Bad Religion.
Driftksi: What was it like to work with producer Chad Gilbert?
Justice: We adopted him as the sixth member basically. He had a good idea of what we wanted as a band. I really value his opinion. I’ve never had such a smooth recording experience in my life.