Review Summary: A great evolutional leap by Crossbreed to achieve a more industrial metal sound.
Crossbreed is an industrial metal/shock rock band origing from Florida, USA. New Slave Nation EP is the follow-up to their 2001 album Synthetic Division, showing that the band is still alive and kicking.
New Slave Nation is a very interesting industrial metal album, and is very different from Synthetic Division in many aspects. The first thing that is distinguishable right away is, that Crossbreed has lost the nu-metal influence that they had on Synthetic Division. The riffs on Synthetic Division were highly nu-metal influenced, as was the drumming, and the all around package was very nu-metalish. But on New Slave nation, the nu-metal influence is entirely gone. The riffs are exactly like a Industrial metal band should have and the drumming has gone way uphill. Also the vocals have utterly changed, and the keyboard/programming effects have been fused more into the general sound. The overall sound has become even more aggressive than it was on Synthetic Division which was also a very aggressive record. The drumming is more fierce, the riffs are faster and heavier and the new vocal style is really fitting. Also the keyboard/programming effects have changed, so that they have blended more into the overall sound and don't come out of the context very often. The recording quality is also a little bit higher than it was on Synthetic Division, a.k.a. it is really magnificent. And all these changes have been very good for the band, since the overall quality of the sound has greatly enlarged and the new, improved style seems to suit them quite perfectly.
The new, almost 100% industrial metal sound that Crossbreed have acquired, is a good and logical step up from the nu-metalish Synthetic Division, since Crossbreed already showed some really big potential on that one. Already the first, and arguably the best song on the album, called "Beg (For This)" demonstrates what Crossbreed can do. The drumming on it is really cool and interesting. The bass is absolutely breathtaking and is heavy as hell. The riffs are very downtuned and the new vocal style that James Rietz exhibits is really interesting to listen to. James had a really mysterious, icy but still extremely emotional voice on Synthetic Division. But on New Slave Nation he's vocals have changed quite a bit. He has lost the extreme emotionalism in his voice and sound's a little bit more hollow. The icyness and mysteriousness on the other hand have remained. The singing is a lot more aggressive and sounds a bit echoing. Rietz also uses more screaming on New Slave Nation, which is good, since he's screaming is really powerful and interesting to listen to. When on Synthetic Division the vocals were the main guide for the music and were the band's most important part, then on New Slave Nation the vocals don't really stand out that much and have blended more into the overall sound that is created by all the instruments.
The instrumental part has done a major leap forward compared to Synthetic Division. The guitars are much more heard throughout the whole album and the riffing has become a lot more faster and aggressive. The main reason for that is because of the great presence of bass guitar. It firmly guides the electric guitars and is also heard very well throughout the whole album. The bass is really downtuned and is heavy as F***, as are the electric guitars. The drumming has become a lot more faster, complex and more aggressive. The drumming technique is a lot different then it was on Synthetic Division. On that it was almost straight up, aggressive nu-metal drumming. But on New Slave Nation the drumming is quite fast, very aggressive, and has noticeable Groove metal and Thrash metal influences. There is still some nu-metal influence left in the drumming department, but it's weight has tremendously degraded. So all in all the drumming is rather interesting. And when the fast, aggressive, Groove/Thrash influenced drumming is combined with the bassguided, house demolishing riffs, angsty and aggressive vocals, and some interesting keyboard/programming effects the result will be Crossbreed - one of the heaviest, original, and aggressive industrial bands around.
This album is not without some minor flaws though. First, there is sadly one filler track. The track is called "Control" and it lacks almost about everything. It has no personality, the sound on it is bland and boring, the vocals are quite bad and it is very slow and really drags, although it is not very long, reaching about 4 minutes. The only thing that is a bit interesting about this track is the chorus which features some high-pitched riffs and the almost begging voice of Rietz is kind of cool. But that is not enough to save the track.
The second thing that I consider as a flaw is that while this album is really good, it takes some time to get into it. A lot of the songs don't appeal on the first listen and it takes several listens before they start showing their cool hooks and groovy riffs. Thirdly, for some people, who really liked Crossbreed's Synthetic Division, it is a bit hard to get used to the new vocal style of James Rietz, since it's so much different from the old one. But that should be easily fordable. The final flaw is naturally the fact, that the album is so short and can't provide a longer enjoyment. But these truly minor flaws don't prevent New Slave Nation of being one of the best industrial albums out there.
So all in all this is a great, aggressive, heavy, interesting and powerful industrial album that should rock the playlist of any industrial fan.