Written by: BL on 20/09/2013 03:35:15

About four years ago, your very own rockfreaks Asian representative right here had reviewed an EP called "The Artificial Theory For The Dramatic Beauty" by a small Japanese band called Crossfaith. A band whose talent revolved around mixing dizzying and eclectic synthesizers with simplistic metalcore, and lately apparently delivering electrifying live performances even outside of their native Japan. Fast forward to 2013, an album and another EP later, and we have their latest release "Apocalyze," which is their attempt to elevate themselves to a whole new level, their audience now firmly a global one.

The most notable aspect about "Apocalyze" is that the transformation from their pure metalcore flavourings into a party-esque metal sound, begun on their last EP "Zion", are now in full swing. "We Are The Future" is a bold introduction with frenetic synth lines and equally frantic guitars weaving into each other only broken by a raw and dirty heavy breakdown - epitomising their new mean and playful nature with some dubstep included. "Hounds of The Apocalypse" however focuses more on their classic metalcore sound, significantly upping the ante with furious double bass pedals, fast harmonised guitar lines and another huge breakdown laced with some pulsing electronics. Both styles succeed equally at this stage but "Eclipse" picks the more boisterous party anthem sound, showing infectious hooks again dominated by good work from their programmer Tamano Terufumi.

"The Evolution" and "Scarlett" both seem to retread immediately similar ground to the previous songs. By which can be seen that one is heavier, thrashier whilst the other more mischievous and rowdy yet engagingly catchy (and not in the poppy sense in the slightest). "Gala Hala (Burn Down The Floor)" tries a more rhythmic game and balances the aggression more finely with the synths too and as a result feels more wholesome, though is overshadowed in no time at all by the maniacal "Countdown To Hell". The latter song delivering a crushing assault of metalcore that for once doesn't rely on any of the electronics to give it colour, not that a song like this was designed to need any as it runs rampant on its own.

Heavy punches isn't what Crossfaith are truly about though as "Deathwish" builds itself up patiently, to erupt into this massive arena style melodic mid section that just blows the lid off of everything before so far. The synthesizers are so alive that they feel like a storm of electrical activity in your brain gone wild. A more reserved yet still enjoyable "Counting Stars" on the other hand, uses comparatively laid back atmospherics and a futuristic spacey theme which is eventually closed out with a despairingly high pitched lead guitar. "Burning White" is without a doubt the best offering yet by taking the best of what has come before - it's up-tempo, direct, overwhelmingly melodic, yet not without fury, capped off with a soaring guitar solo from their guitar man Takemura Kazuki. Lastly we have "Only The Wise Can Control Our Eyes", a song about the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster and also (as the title and lyrics suggests) about the Japanese government's supposed information denial. It's certainly very bleak sounding at times with a desperate usage of panic chords although does manage a counter-balance and release through the melodies in the choruses.

"Apocalyze" is a daring album that isn't afraid of experimenting in an ever increasingly stale genre, and should receive praise for doing so - the synths particularly often proved to be a game changer. Minor grievances if any would be that Koie Kenta's screams aren't all that varied, though his clean vocals do liven things up somewhat even if sparsely used. Furthermore, a personal preference would indicate that although the party soundtrack of the first half is decent (and would sound fun live), the second half of the album has a far more purposeful and epic quality to it that one could wish Crossfaith had explored more. Whichever direction that Crossfaith decide to persue in the end for their next record, they are beginning to show the makings of something potentially even bigger, all the luck to them I say.

Download: Eclipse, Deathwish, Burning White
For the fans of: Enter Shikari, Lamb of God, Pendulum, The Prodigy

Release date 04.09.2013
The End Records

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