Okay people, I have to make a confession here. Despite being dismissed for (apparently) primarily liking death/black metal genres and trad goth styles only – I have a secret passion for early metalcore which exploded into the scene in the early 2000s. With good reason, as it spelled the end of nu metal – a genre that for the most part I disliked. A time when Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall, Chimaira, Lamb of God ruled the roost, finally putting a nail in the coffin of nu metal. A time when metal (as far as I was concerned) got its mojo back. One of those bands that grabbed my ear was a very unlikely band called 36 Crazyfists, a band of a quirky distinction due to the wobbly clean vocals and roars of Brock Lindow.
They’ve had a five year break, and it initially appeared that they may have called it a day. Not so, it seems. The band has changed record labels. and their latest album “Time and Trauma” is out in February on Spinefarm Records. This release also heralds the return of bass guitarist Mick Whitney a new drummer, Kyle Baltus.
The first thing that I will mention is that 36 Crazyfists are a band that may not appeal to all people, which may be down to the fact that people are probably sick to death of metalcore as it is now. Or, the simple fact that cynics out there think they will appeal to the art quiff floppy haired demographic that aren’t ‘true metalheads’, which for the most part is total rubbish. The album gets off to a good start with the angsty and charged ‘Vanish (We All Disappear)’, while ‘11.24.1’1 demonstrates Brock‘s vocal range perfectly. ‘Sorrow Sings’ is a catchy number, that has a sense of melody combined with a Pantera-esque riff style that also has obvious pointers to where today’s pale imitators got their ideas from.
A particular point of note that the album errs more towards cleaner vocals and a sense of almost pop like catchy earworms, which is shown clearly in ‘Lightness’ and the title track. ‘Also Am I’ picks up the pace with pleasing charging riffs, and a pleasing clean/raw vocal balance – that even breaks into a guitar solo and a crooned anthemic chorus. ‘Translator’ is 36 Crazyfists at their best, demonstrating a range of moods throughout the song; at parts mournful and bluesy feeling but conveying a sense of driving urgency. ‘Silencer’ has charging energetic stop/start riff patterns that remind me of Deftones, while ‘Swing The Noose’ brings clean guitar passages, crooned vocals and that catchy pop edge once more. ‘Gathering Bones’ is a more angst filled and clearly Pantera inspired, and ‘Marrow’ closes the album with an impassioned emotional ending with the addition of female vocals into the mix.
I am pleased to report that 36 Crazyfists are still on top form, and over the years since they became big are still as fresh and relevant as ever. The album will not disappoint long standing fans, and will hopefully bring newer fans that were possibly too young to have remembered them the first time around. Which will be a good thing, as they’re an important and shining keystone of the metalcore genre that is certainly worth investigation.