36 Crazyfists

Collisions And Castaways

Written by: PP on 07/09/2010 16:36:25

Never quite trendy enough to gain piercing momentum in the scene, 36 Crazyfists have quietly marched forward on the sidelines, releasing a new album every two years or so to varying degrees of success. Two years ago, "The Tide And Its Takers" saw the band delve much further into the As I Lay Dying / All That Remains style of hook-driven metalcore than before to both critical and fan acclaim. Today, their fifth album "Collisions And Castaways" unfortunately takes the band back towards the simplified scream/metalcore hybrid they used to be about five or six years ago, the one that saw many fans of metalcore and scene in general accuse them of sounding bland and uninteresting prior to the tenth or so listen.

The album kicks off with the excellent "In The Midnights", a signature 36 crazyfists track with screamed verses, scratchy cleans in a catchy chorus, some spoken word passages and a melodic breakdown towards the end where Brock repeat-screams "I SAW THE DEAD RISE" in what should almost certainly be a spectacle of live energy explosion in small venues. There are a few catchy lead riffs, just like on "Whitewater", where the post-"An Ocean Between Us" era As I Lay Dying guitar influence makes a re-appearance again, albeit briefly, but even here one can't deny that the sound is a lot less technical, and as a result, less interesting than in the past. That notion is further confirmed as the album progresses beyond the halfway mark, where mindless breakdowns are introduced too frequently, and the instrumentals overall aren't as jauntily ripping and full of hooks and leads as we've grown accustomed over the past two albums from these guys. Case in point: the overtly simple chord-based delivery on lead single "Reviver". At the same time, Brock's bark has become more brutal in places. His characteristic throaty bark is still predominant on the record, but there are a lot of places where he almost extends into growling, another unwelcome addition if you ask me.

But don't get me wrong. "Collisions And Castaways" isn't a terrible album by any means. The few tracks I mentioned earlier, alongside the one masterpiece on the album in the form of "Caving In Spirals", are easy to swallow for any 36 Crazyfist fan, or a fan of this sort of music in general. Brock still knows how to write anthemic vocal harmonies during the choruses, and is able to contrast them with just enough brutality to make these sound at least decent at all times. Still, it's impossible to avoid mentioning the vast difference in quality between the tracks found on the album. The quiet/loud dynamic that explodes into a monumental anthem-chorus on the aforementioned "Caving In Spirals" is miles better than anything else on the album, leaving tracks like "Death Renames The Light" or "Anchors" sounding bland and uninspiring in comparison. So it's safe to say that this album isn't quite on par with their album from two years ago, or even the one before that. If you ever found 36CF slightly bland and generic, then this is the one album from these guys you shouldn't get your hands on. It bears all the symptoms of a band that's starting to be near the final years of their career, despite a few superb highlights that'll make a mark in their discography.

Download: Caving In Spirals, In The Midnights, Whitewater
For the fans of: As I Lay Dying, It Dies Today, Haste The Day, From Autumn To Ashes
Listen: Myspace

Release date 27.07.2010
Ferret Records/Roadrunner

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