Crossbreed
KE 101


4.5
superb

Review

by Magnus Altkula STAFF
September 14th, 2009 | 211 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: KE 101 is a year defining album in industrial metal

Crossbreed started out in 1996 as a rather crappy band trying to capitalize on the nu metal movement that was going on in the late 90's till early 2000's. They released their first demo LP titled .01 back in 1998 independently. The demo was mainly just bad nu-metal with a few electronic touches here and there. The voice of vocalist James Breed was undeveloped to say the least and other than a few gripping riffs here and there, .01 didn't have much value. In the year 2000, Crossbreed were signed to Artemis records and less than a year after that, released their real debut LP titled Synthetic Division. It was a strong effort that combined the industrial and nu metal genres nicely into Crossbreed's own original sound. After the release of Synthetic Division though the band disappeared for a while. They returned in 2005 with a 7 track EP called New Slave Nation. It showed the band somewhat ditching their nu metal influences and aiming for a more full-on industrial sound. Now more than 2 years past its original projected release date, Crossbreed have finally delivered their sophomore album, KE 101.

With that history lesson out of the way, let me assure you that Crossbreed have come a long way since 1996. What was a lousy nu metal band back then, is now a confident industrial force from Florida, U.S. Synthetic Division exhibited much promise, New Slave Nation expanded on that potential, and KE 101 is the final stage. That's not to say Crossbreed's career will be finished after this album, it's just very hard to see them topping it.

KE 101 is exactly like an industrial album should be. It's aggressive, it's crushing, it's full off (mostly) non-processed, strong vocals and it's packed with neat electronic effects, covered by the wrecking guitars. The bass is audible most of the time and together with the drumming it provides a more-than-solid rhythm section. The production is rather clear, but since we are dealing with industrial, it still has that dirty feel to it. It is well-balanced and gives every member of the band an opportunity to shine. Crossbreed have also finally distanced themselves from their nu metal roots. There will probably always be a slight nu influence in their music, but on KE 101 it really isn't audible anymore.

KE 101 has got six entirely new songs, four remakes, and one cover. All of the new songs are great, with "Hollow" and "End Of Days" being some of the best the band has ever written. Others like "Kill Everything" and "Emote" deserve being mentioned as well, but in general, one has to ask: which songs shouldn't be namedropped? All the new songs have a powerful feel to them. They have first-class choruses, interesting build-ups, unpredictable (yet well-executed) hooks, and they all impress by being stand-out industrial metal tracks in an otherwise stagnant year for the genre. There isn't a single letdown in the bunch and every track has a lot to offer for the listener. The remakes are more hit-and-miss though.

"Tb Not" is a great remake which surpasses its original by being more of an actual song as the original sounded too much like a mesh of drums, guitars and effects, lacking a clear build-up and a chorus of sorts. "Beg" is a good song on its own, but doesn't quite cut it when compared to the original - mostly because the original was a near-perfect industrial song. The powerful drums in the beginning of the original "Beg" were too much for the remake to overcome and the whole song lacks the fuzzy, aggressive production the original had which made it so awesome.

"Saints Of Grey" is the only weak(er) song on this album. It's Crossbreed's most famous song to date and sadly the remake simply lacks the sharp edge the original had. The extremely low-tuned solo in the middle of the track is just weak compared to the pounding-original and the whole song would benefit from being much more raw (like the original "Saints Of Grey" was). Finally, the last of the remakes is "Control" and that track is the icing on this album. It's a depressive slow song with a sad atmosphere. J.Breed's vocals are downright begging in the chorus and the overall melancholic feel of the song is very genuine, making "Control" the best song on this album, hands down.

The aforementioned cover is "Superstition", originally performed by Stevie Wonder in 1972. Crossbreed's version of it is rock solid as well; they manage to input a lot of groove and funk into their performance which is a very unusual thing for an industrial metal band to do. Even J.Breed manages to sing in a funky manner, almost ditching his usual cold, icy voice.

Even though Crossbreed may have been just a little bit lazy during the recording process of this album, as four of the 11 tracks are remakes, all the songs on this record still stand very well on their own (yes, even the “Saints Of Grey” remake) and I am proud to say that KE 101 might, and probably will be the best industrial metal album of this year. No weak spots, no letdowns. The only thing this album could benefit more from would for it to be longer as KE 101 only has 11 songs and clocks just below 40 minutes.

So, after creating such a superb album, where does that leave Crossbreed? Well you can pat yourselves on the back guys, as what you have done here is top quality stuff. Tour around, play some gigs, enjoy the life and don’t take another 9 ***ing years to release a new album!



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
September 14th 2009


8368 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

amazing album, anyone even remotely into the metal side of industrial needs to check this out.

Also, good enough Willie (oh please tell me it is)?

Willie
Moderator
September 14th 2009


16019 Comments


Not bad at all. This was a good album (that I thought was going to suck).

Digging: Skrew - Universal Immolation

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
September 14th 2009


8368 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

glad you like it

Ponton
Emeritus
September 14th 2009


5793 Comments


Finally nice to read this. I had no idea they had remakes on this album. Good review, though I noticed a few grammer slips here and there.

Meatplow
September 14th 2009


5524 Comments


I'll check this one out.

Also, I finally listened to Project Pitchfork's IO, user WillieFisterbut. A very unusual album and completely not what I was expecting, but I dig.

Ponton
Emeritus
September 14th 2009


5793 Comments


Who is that guy in your picture?

Phantom
September 14th 2009


8930 Comments


You're getting better with each review. Despite the few odd grammar mistakes the content is solid, good job.

Meatplow
September 14th 2009


5524 Comments


Who is that guy in your picture?


David Tibet.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
September 14th 2009


8368 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

aight edited, any more nitpicks Trey (I'm happy to listen if you have some complaints left)?

EDIT: thanks Plow, Alex and Observer

Willie
Moderator
September 14th 2009


16019 Comments


Meatplow, your picture violates my senses. Who told this guy that taking that picture would be a good idea? And what the hell is sitting around him?

Ponton
Emeritus
September 14th 2009


5793 Comments


Yeah, I'm no professional, but there seems to be several places missing commas with the independent clauses and conjunction rule. A lot of people here seem to have trouble with that.

Not meaning to complain.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
September 14th 2009


8368 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

So, that's the first paragraph. Similar issues with other paragraphs.
wow.........should have sent this to you before i posted it i guess.

Willie
Moderator
September 14th 2009


16019 Comments


I actually thought you might. When you're done with my suggestions let me know so I can clear that big ass comment. And let me know if you want to hear anything about the other paragraphs ;)

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
September 14th 2009


8368 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ok edited. And I edited all the other paragraphs too except for the last which I know could be better, but I just can't come up with anything better.

Zip
September 14th 2009


5312 Comments


bleh industrial

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
September 14th 2009


8368 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

actually, give it a go, it's pretty heavy, heavier than Ventana ;)

Meatplow
September 14th 2009


5524 Comments


Meatplow, your picture violates my senses. Who told this guy that taking that picture would be a good idea? And what the hell is sitting around him?


these questions are precisely why I love it so much

fear not, I will change it before long. you seem to be the only person who has met with it with outright disgust though ;]

Ponton
Emeritus
September 14th 2009


5793 Comments


Yeah, I guess you will get a lot of attention for that now won't you

Willie
Moderator
September 14th 2009


16019 Comments


fear not, I will change it before long. you seem to be the only person who has met with it with outright disgust though ;]
Which concerns me, actually.

Willie
Moderator
September 14th 2009


16019 Comments


Have a pos.



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