Review Summary: Rising from the ashes, after 9 years since their debut album and numerous lineup changes, Crossbreed are back with one of the best records of 2009. This is heavy industrial metal with many hooks throughout.
2 of 2 thought this review was well written
Crossbreed are one of the greater bands that broke out when nu-metal was on a craze. Their debut album, “Synthetic Division”, didn’t exactly do amazing, but it showed that they were onto something. They mixed heavy and harsh industrial sounds with nu-metal and created a unique sound that, as far as I know, wasn’t something most bands did at the time. The record was fun and is of the more mature sounding records I’ve heard to come out of the nu-metal scene. Over the years, they have lost many of their original members that played on that album and have gained new ones. They released an EP in 2005 entitled “New Slave Nation” and have had a 2nd record in the works for quite some time now. After 9 years and many occasions where it got pushed back, KE 101 was finally released on September 15th 2009, and it definitely delivers.
Spanned across this album are 11 tracks of pure industrial metal with blazing keyboards and synths, roaring guitars and bass, decent drum work, great vocals, and crazed samples that add to the blend of chaos. This album grabs you from the first track and doesn’t let up its sonic assault on the listener until it’s over. Album opener ‘Kill Everything’ is a defining statement and a great way to start the album. It almost sounds like a live track at the beginning, with samples of a crowd roaring as the industrial beats come in and the guitars join it creating a heavy atmosphere which sets the stage to introduce vocalist James Rietz. On “Synthetic Division”, it was obvious that he was still trying to master singing and screaming and had some work to do on improving his voice. On this album, he has mastered his techniques, and presents his great screaming and clean vocals on the first track. What follows is one of the best songs on the album, ‘Hollow’. It has great verses with driving guitars and industrial elements that lead to a chorus that has one of the best hooks on the record. It’s almost impossible not to sing along to the track. It should be noted that Guitarist Chris Nemzek still doesn’t use his skills to their full potential, but he does experiment more than he did on ”Synthetic Division” and as a result the guitars have taken a step up on this album.
Consistency is one of the key factors in what makes this album what it is. There really isn’t a single track worth skipping. The lyrics aren’t terrible, the songs flow well as an album, and there is little repetition. Even the ‘Superstition’ cover is well done and doesn’t put the original one to shame, the industrial elements that Crossbreed bring to the table give the song a whole new dimension of sound. “The Calling” is a perfect example of how this band fuses industrial with metal so well. The song is heavy but melodic at the same time and features an all around great performance from all of the members as everyone adds to the song. The final minute of the song is one of the greatest moments on the album, when the samples and drums crash into the heavy guitars that don’t let up till the track ends. The album closer, ‘Beg’, isn’t one of the best on the record and ends suddenly, but leaves the listener satisfied knowing that Crossbreed have really done it this time around.
One of the sad things about everything that has to do with KE 101 is that Crossbreed aren’t a popular band at all. As a matter of fact, a lot of people probably have no idea that this album even came out this year at all. It’s unfortunate because these guys really play a great style of industrial metal that shouldn’t be overlooked. If you are a fan of either genre and are looking for some great heavy music to listen to, I would definitely give KE 101 a spin. You shouldn’t be disappointed…this is a band that has truly defined their sound on one of the top records of 2009.