Crystal Lake – Helix27th May 2019 0 By Aaron Emerson Heather McNeil
Japanese Metalcore band, Crystal Lake has been slowly plugging away on the scene since 2002; they have a serious pedigree to their name in their own native country but outside their hemisphere they are truly making a name for themselves. It’s hard not to feel for the band when some of the reasoning’s behind their new rise to popularity is due to the meteoric rise of Crossfaith, especially when they formed 4 years after them. Still, we are finally getting the Crystal Lake face melt, thanks to the 2016 release, True North; well they signed to a new label, SharpTone Records and now their latest release comes to the shelves in the guise of Helix. So, let’s see how they measure up to the explosion of bands that are appearing from the Land of the Rising Sun.
Other than the intro, ‘Helix’, which outlines a type of concept album, they go for the jugular with ‘Aeon’; this is not your modern Metalcore outline, this is the classic aggressive, screaming, technical onslaught that made Metalcore such an incredible genre in the first place. Crystal Lake don’t hold back with the screams and growls, the vocals of Ryo Kinoshita tears through the tracks with an incredible visceral cord that it can make your skin crawl. The skin peeling screams and growls continue through the shreds of ‘Agony’ and ‘+81’; the guitar work is sublime, allowing for a seamless blend of shreds, riffs and full on brutal chords that pulverises the brain and ear drums; ahh, it’s bliss. You are taken on a ride of brutality and ferocity, and the trio in Ryo, Shinya and YD prove to be masters of their art. Although the opening salvo of tracks rips you a new one it’s the depth of technical quality and nuances of ‘Lost in Forever’ and ‘Outgrow’ that really make you realise just how important Crystal Lake is to the genre.
Nothing holds them back in the perfection that is ‘Ritual’ and ‘Hail to the Fire’ yet this is just how this band conducts its overall goals; it not just about the screams and the growls and the shreds, it has to tell a story and boy do the tracks do that, the ritualistic chanting throughout ‘Ritual’ is a great example of the length the trio go to get the right sound for the right song. The album is an incredible journey that shows off aspects of bands that influence them, from Parkway Drive to Hatebreed. The pounding chords are like a deluge of punches to the Limbic System of the brain and you just want it to keep coming.
These guys are going to influence the next generation of metal stars; it’s this sort of dedication and brilliance that makes people stand up and take notice. I may be new to Crystal Lake’s music, but they have definitely got a new fan. Metalcore as it should be, Metalcore at its best.
5. Lost in Forever
8. Hail to the Fire
10. Just Confusing
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