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36 Crazyfists – Lanterns

36 Crazyfists
by Anton Sanatov at 10 December 2017, 9:02 PM

It is too often that we find ourselves in a shitstorm of cold emotional turmoil. Caught in the dark overwhelming winds of an oncoming depressive blizzard it seems like that warm yellow glow of light will never make it presence known and shall forever abandon its efforts to illuminate. Yet one should never give up their search, for somewhere deep in that thick northern snow, the oil still burns.

I must admit that I have always had a favourable opinion of bands that hail from the colder parts of the world – particularly places like Canada and Alaska. Such bands just have this very distinct icy characteristic to their sound that is simply mesmerising in its poignancy. 36 CRAZYFISTS are indeed one such act, and one that I feel has been criminally overlooked ever since the beginning of their career. Whilst the Alaskan Metalcore outfit came up in the scene with such bands as KILLSWITCH ENGAGE and CHIMAIRA, the group has often been pigeonholed as a Nu-Metal act when in reality, their heavy grooves, subtle melodies, catchy hooks and just overall haunting pathos is the stuff of simply great Metal; and now, 8 records in, they are more than ever determined to prove it with their newest effort “Lanterns”.

Without shedding a nerve “Lanterns” opens with the monstrous “Death Eater”, a riff-heavy beast that swallows you whole and ploughs through your entrails with a punchy chorus and a bewitching mid-song breakdown that makes you reach for holy water. One of the things that immediately stands out on this record is Brock Lindow’s vocal performance. Brock appears to have swallowed a live demon in between records, for the frontman’s signature croons and Hardcore yells are now accompanied with screams and growls of newfound power and vehemence - as is also showcased on tracks like “Below The Graves”, where the singer further consolidates this powerhouse vocal outing by interlacing his emotive cleans with banshee-like screeches.

“Lanterns” is by no means you typical 36 CRAZYFISTS enterprise. Yes, the band still bear their signature sound - as is evidenced by the album’s lead single “Better To Run”, which is a chorus-heavy, melodic number reminiscent of “A Snow Capped Romance” era – yet the collective also appear to have almost completely forgone the Post-Hardcore stylings of records like “The Tide And It’s Takers” in favour of further exploring the more rugged side of things that was prominent on their previous effort “Time And Trauma”.  The riffs are heavier, the production is thicker and Kyle Baltus shows no mercy to those drums. Tracks like “Wars To Walk Away From” and “Sleepsick” are pure Metal juggernauts that pay subtle homage to band like JUDAS PRIEST and PANTERA whilst pummelling the tape with heavy chords and fat grooves. Slower tracks are also not forgotten as the band deliver two ballads in a row with “Sea And Smoke” – a potential follow-up to “Time And Trauma’s melancholy masterpiece “Marrow” – and the “Where Revenge Ends”, a somewhat bland, but nonetheless introspective composition reminiscent of the acoustic title track off “The Tide And Its Takers” - a perfect number for those nights beneath the Aurora Borealis.

Yet above all there is a sense of chilling finesse to “Lanterns”. The previously mentioned production, whilst still quite dry in true 36 CRAZYFISTS fashion, is tighter and fuller than ever, making each song hit like a bag of sand. However, it is the songwriting on tracks like “Bandage For Promise”, “Laying Hands” and the  record’s highlight “Old Gold” that cracks the iciest of hearts. The band manage to harvest their ever-present essence of bittersweet emotion and build upon it songs that echo of pure, classic Metal and transcend any material labels one may have stapled to the band’s sound. The aforementioned tracks – particularly “Bandage For Promise” and “Laying Hands” – employ an impeccable blend of old-school guitars and melodic hooks to evolve into finely balanced, accessible Metal songs that make the genre proud.

Overall – the glow of “Lanterns” leads the way. 36 CRAZYFISTS’ latest record is a heavy, well-written offering that shines yet more light on the band’s talent. By adhering to esteemed Metal values, 36 CRAZYFISTS elevate themselves above their established Metalcore status and deliver a solid album that is as pure as the driven snow.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 6
Memorability: 7
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Death Eater
2. War To Walk Away From
3. Better To Run
4. Damaged Under Sun
5. Sea and Smoke
6. Where Revenge Ends
7. Sleepsick
8. Bandage for Promise
9. Laying Hands
10. Below the Graves
11. Old Gold
12. Dark Corners
Brock Lindow - Vocals
Steve Holt - Guitars
Mick Whitney - Bass
Kyle Baltus – Drums
Record Label: Spinefarm Records


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