Theres something there
The newest outing by these Alaskan metallers. But what can we expect? Their somewhat lackluster performance at Download this year aside, does the album continue the trend?
Suitably, the first track, "All the night Lights" features a very heavy start, thought e pace through-out is quite slow. A good mix of guttural and clean lyrics, very typical of their style. It's somewhat shouty and definitely wholesome. This continues with "We gave it hell" - a faster paced but slightly less fearsome vocally.
36 Crazyfists are continuing their passionate metal-core with this album. The front cover alone portrays the force of nature and its ability to take life rather starkly. This theme continues with the music. "The Back Harlow Road" has an interesting mix of clean guitar, melodic vocals and an almost ballad like feel to it. Again, the anger and screaming comes through but overall, this track has a more subdued tone. The structure of this song is a good representation of the album as a whole. There's an intricate structure going on here that could almost earn the term 'progressive'.
There's a mixture of extreme metalcore and more standard elements of rock as a whole. The tracks are laced with melancholic edge, verging on what emo used to be. Don't take that as a bad sign though. "Waiting on a War" is totally different again, with a large acoustic drive to it. It's a wandering song with a sense of suspense. The vocals are clean but still retain a rough edge. It builds into a distorted, electric sound and we are back in familiar territory, and yet, the initial warm feeling is still kept.
I felt "Clear the Coast" didn't really do the album any favours, as it didn't quite seem to know where to go. Most of the album has a mixed up flavour and sometimes it works, other times not. "Only a Year or So" brings us back to the fast paced action like a slap to the face. It's not a very pleasant slap though, with the song being nothing too special.
There's something going on with this album that I can't quite put my finger on. It has a good theme and overall sound and there is more to it than the usual metalcore offerings. Take the track, "Vast and Vague" for instance. It retains the hallmarks of metalcore but sounds thick and massive with a signature riff but it doesn't last so long. Perhaps thats it? Each track starts with promise but falters somewhere along the line. The title track strides along triumphantly, with the sound of a marching drum in the background. The vocal styles however, sound no different to all the others. The resistance of the band to speed up this track and instead, throw in some interesting guitar work stand them in good stead. Shame about the vocals.
Overall, there's something there for the metalcore fan and this album definitely shows a progression and evolution of 36 Crazyfists. The structure of the songs, the pace, the sounds and the themes speak of plenty of ideas but there are down-points here and there. I doubt it's an album you'll take off your shelf often.