Friday, August 6, 2010

36 Crazyfists - Collisions And Castaways

36 Crazyfists can safely take a bow for this, their fifth studio effort Collisions And Castaways. It’s strange to think that these Alaskans aren’t huge. They’ve certainly earned any success they do have, struggling through personal grief in the band and releasing solid, zero dud records every single time. Yet the glass ceiling remains unbroken for them and it’s said with each record, “now things will change”. That said they haven’t, by any means, been static. Each new chapter has marked a beguiling evolution and 2010’s evolution is no different.

Collisions And Castaways is their heaviest and most abrasive record to date, as well as their most expansive. Criminally underrated guitarist and chief composer Steve Holt has valiantly spread his creative wings here, all made evident by opener 'In The Midnights'. In all it has a more epic, for the want of a better word, vibe with creeping acoustics giving way to sprawling leads and an eventual barrage of riffs. Then by rolling into the ferocious and edgy 'Whitewater' Collisions And Castaways truly gets underway.

Similar to his comrade in Holt, vocalist Brock Lindow has upped his game delivering his finest performance yet being his most frenzied as well passionate. On predecessor The Tide And Its Takers he teased at the intensity and ferocity he was capable of but here it’s come full circle, all proven by 'Mercy And Grace'. But melody and hooks haven’t been sacrificed for the sake of brutality. Lead single 'Reviver' has a colossal chorus destined for chaotic sing-alongs live, meanwhile 'Caving In Spiral' tugs ruthlessly on the heartstrings. In some ways 36 Crazyfists exude an air of melancholy in tracks like the latter but it’s twisted and moulded into a wholly positive emotive affair.

Last two tracks 'The Deserter' and 'Waterhaul II' portray some more violent tumult and a return to visceral/melodic clashes. 36 Crazyfists have struck an assiduous balance and uncovered and laid claim to a familiar sound that they can call their own. Like Killswitch Engage and Lamb Of God before them they’ll be mimicked but it’s their sound now due to an arduous honing of the craft with each album. Collisions And Castaways is a triumph in a multitude of ways for them and should, if justice prevails finally, reap many rewards.


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