36 Crazyfists – ‘Lanterns’ (Spinefarm Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Rich Hobson   
Tuesday, 10 October 2017 04:00

36crazyfistslanternscdAdversity, they say, breeds great music. If that’s so, then 36 Crazyfists have been through the ringer these past few years. In 2015 the band released ‘Time and Trauma’, a powerful and moving release which dealt with heavy themes of loss and bereavement, serving as the band’s most candid and confessional release to date. ‘Lanterns’ takes this sense of personal triumph over adversity further, signalling right from opening track ‘Death Eater’ exactly what this is album is about.

 

So, what is it about? Triumph, basically. Much as 36 Crazyfists have triumphed as a band within the metal canon, outliving every trend from nu metal to the mid-00s metalcore boom and beyond, ‘Lanterns’ is a record which revels in the personal triumphs one can achieve in the face of adversity. With bassist Steve Holt again in the producer’s seat, Lanterns enjoys the incredible production values which made ‘Time and Trauma’ such an exciting listen, giving the band an incredibly thick and textured feel without sacrificing any of the brutal groove the band achieve.

 

In featuring the same line-up as 2015’s ‘Time and Trauma’ and tackling many of the same themes, as well as boasting the same high production values, 36 Crazyfists have invited inevitable comparisons between the two albums. ‘Time And Trauma’ was (rightly) hailed as the band’s biggest triumph in years – if not ever, a high watermark for a band who had produced some fantastic early work. Lanterns takes this narrative and runs with it, proving to be a worthy successor and a record that could possibly even topple its predecessor’s heights.

 

 

Taking the positive mentality vibes of Hatebreed and fusing them to crushing metal riffs, 36 Crazyfists don’t fuck about one bit on ‘Lanterns’. ‘Death Eater’ sees the band racing out the gates, its rampaging riffs blasting away any cobwebs formed in the past two years. Follow up ‘Wars to Walk Away From’ slows the pace to a lead-booted stomp, its bruising beatdowns the envy of the hardcore and metal world alike. Unyielding to a fault, each track sends the band clattering in a different direction, the changes in pace taking the listener on an odyssey through the finest boulevards in metal country.

 

If the riffs don’t get you, the choruses will. Possessing an undeniable talent for fusing muscular riffs and enormous singalongs, 36 Crazyfists deliver more insta-anthems on ‘Lanterns’. ‘Better to Burn’ has chops enough that it could rival ‘Swing The Noose’ or even ‘Slit Wrist Theory’, the kind of massive metal anthem (hold the pop) that is so seldom utilised now. ‘Sea and Smoke’ on the other hand is a power ballad for the metalcore generation, imbued with an enormous sense of the epic as it reaches higher and higher.

 

‘Lanterns’ is a testament to the sheer musicianship of the band. With production strong enough that each instrument features prominently and noticeable in the mix, the listener is afforded the opportunity to marvel the pendulum like swing of each guitar riff, the spine-shudder of each bassline, the clamour of each drum beat. This makes it all the more enjoyable when a rare moment of respite shines through on a record, with bare-bones ballad ‘When Revenge Ends’ evoking a sense of intimacy and ‘Sleepsick’ (arguably the album’s heaviest track) featuring a cooldown which suggests a whole different dimension to 36 Crazyfists’ music.

 

 

As with all previous 36 Crazyfists releases, the vocals of Brock Lindow are nothing short of miraculous. Not only does Lindow possess one of the most unique voices in metal (a handy trait to have when the cookie cutter is doing the rounds), but his range is stunning, easily capable of bearing the weight of each tune with his ability to span everything from powerful melodic vocal to intimate croon, growling metal roar to piercing shriek. This range helps Lindow to emote on each track, lending the album a more multidimensional feel as Lindow tackles each song with gusto, sweeping up the listener in his pace.

 

‘Lanterns’ ends on a gentle note with ‘Dark Corners’, leaving the listener with a lingering feeling of having been exorcised as the album closes. Demons and troubles sand-blasted away the previous 45 minutes’ powerhouse riffing, the resultant feeling of positive energy embodies the sense of triumph which is prevalent throughout the entire album. Not once do 36 Crazyfists shy away from the darker elements or themes on this album, instead tackling them head on and powering through to a place of positivity that, as the title suggests, serves as a light amidst the darkness.

 

‘Lanterns’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.

 

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