10 trap-metal releases that push the genre into new extremes
Nü metal, sludge metal, futuristic witch house, glitchy horrorcore… Pick your favorite flavor of trap metal 2.0.August 21, 2020
To the dismay of gatekeepers, trap metal continues to evolve far beyond screaming over a trap beat. In honor of that, here are some of the recent gems in the most brutal kind of trap that hint toward the future of metal.
$uicideboy$, Travis Barker – LIVE FAST DIE WHENEVER
History was made in trap metal when $uicideboy$ and Travis Barker united forces for a hard-hitting EP featuring Korn guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer. Oh, and they sampled YouTuber Anthony Fantano’s review of their debut album, including his words about their formula being “pretty obvious at this point.” While that’s clearly up for debate, LIVE FAST DIE WHENEVER shows that even if there ever existed a $uicideboy$ formula, it was transformed beyond recognition and completely crushed in “nothingleftnothingleft”—a chaotic tornado that resembles all kinds of alien objects as it mercilessly whirls across punk, hardcore, industrial and nü-metal territories.
Rico Nasty – Anger Management
Anger Management is a meticulously polished collection of chopped-up beats, crawling, distorted basslines, enraged rapid-fire flows, abrasive guitar sounds and weird samples. On this mini album, Rico Nasty blends fiercely disciplined chaos and her trademark “sugar trap” aesthetic into an amalgamation of hip-hop, pop, trap and metal as if they were merely particles of a black glittery eyeshadow. If there was a sonic expression of being stabbed with an embellished heel, Anger Management would definitely be it.
Scarlxrd – FANTASY VXID
With FANTASY VXID, the U.K. rapper Scarlxrd continues pushing his sound—along with the whole genre—forward by merging hip-hop and metal in his own unique way. From guitar-heavy desperation in “FXRTUNE.” to emo-rap and alt-metal echoing in “SAVE YXUR GRACE.,” the masked loner shakes you up with pure rage one minute and crushes your heart in another as his screaming gets constantly overpowered by thick noises and futuristic production. All of that creates a mental image of a tortured human ghost trying to break out of a cyborg alien shell. Like the one on the album cover.
City Morgue – CITY MORGUE VOL. 2: AS GOOD AS DEAD
Allow sandy basslines to crawl under your skin as ZillaKami and SosMula, a hip-hop duo known as City Morgue, attack you with shouted verses, assertive flows and grungy guitar loops. Whether it’s nü-metal-channeling tracks such as “SOUL BURN” and “DIRTNAP” or the emo rap-like “DRAINO” featuring Denzel Curry and “PEELING SCABS,” the overall mood of the album is melancholic and bitter rather than one-dimensionally aggressive as the rappers document both the street life and its imprint on a personal level.
Backxwash – DEVIANCY
Canadian rapper Backxwash fuses hardcore and industrial hip-hop, horrorcore, trap and metal on her full-length debut, DEVIANCY. But it’s not exactly the genre combination that makes the album stand out. It’s more about how these versatile layers are connected into complex yet smooth arrangements with hypnotic electronic loops, guitar squeals and busy basslines. Pay attention to commanding vocal takes that call out homophobia, patriarchy, inequality and narrow-mindedness. Pairing all of that with dark occult symbolism, Backxwash powerfully challenges the status quo—both in the music industry and society.
nothing,nowhere. – “death”
nothing,nowhere. was never a stranger to guitar sound, be it his track with Dashboard Confessional, collab with Fall Out Boy or EP featuring Travis Barker. The emo rapper continues his explorations with a full-band setup. In January, he was jumping around with a Joe Exotic-style wig in the video for his pop-rock single “nightmare.” In April, he dropped “death,” his first-ever trap-metal single. Here, he swaps gentle melancholic sounds for nü-metal aggression, singing to anxious rap flows and screaming, and romantic storytelling for a minimalistic, straightforward depiction of anguish. The word “death,” by the way, makes up nearly one-quarter of the lyrics.
Zheani – Satanic Prostitute
Bubble gum or black metal? Why not both? A messed-up trip of four tracks, Zheani’s Satanic Prostitute EP is a gradually intensifying blend of distorted beats, glitchy noises and unpredictable departures to surreal pop and even drum ’n’ bass. The Australian rapper creates a dark trap fantasy that you can listen to while either summoning your inner cyber goth or doing your casual corpse paint routine. For your ultimate neon-black-metal inspiration, check out Zheani’s “DIRTBIKE” video.
Ho99o9, Ghostemane – “Twist Of Fate/ Cobra”
No wonder Corey Taylor named Ho99o9 as one the acts who are the future of metal. In their collaborative single with Ghostemane, the duo enter the post-genre era with what sounds like a classic Marilyn Manson track stretched out to the point where it almost resembles sludge metal while also featuring hardcore and rap-rock sensibilities that are signature to Ho99o9. Augmented with Ghostemane’s screamed rapid-fire verses, “Twist Of Fate/ Cobra” is a convincing version of what future metal could sound like.
Lil Darkie – THIS DOES NOT EXIST
Innovation has little to do with genre purity. And THIS DOES NOT EXIST, a sour concentrate of trippy and muddy atmospheres, conflicting layers and freaky effects, has nothing to do with it. Even if you have a super-short attention span, Lil Darkie’s sophomore album will sustain your focus up until the end. If you only want to get the taste of it, click play on hardcore/thrash-driven “MOVE BECAUSE YOU CAN.” Yep, it’s a mess. A unique and brilliant mess.
Jade The Nightmare – Psychotopia
Psychedelic death nü metal trap. Sounds random? Sure, Jade The Nightmare’s Psychotopia isn’t for everyone. It’s unruly, heavily experimental and blatantly underproduced. But if you’ve ever been into underground metal, you know it’s an essential part of the vibe. A mind-bending montage of demonic growls, abrasive riffs and distorted beats, Psychotopia paves a dark path toward something yet unknown in trap, metal and alternative.