"BETWEEN THE SEASONS WE FIND ROOM!!!"
Such is the greeting one is met with as "I'll Go Until My Heart Stops"
blasts its merry way out of the speakers with full-throated fury, signalling the beginning of 36 Crazyfists' best work to date, Rest Inside The Flames
. It grabs the listener's attention, and doesn't let go until the last lilting chords of "The City Ignites"
have rung out and faded away.
36CF have always been consistantly excellent in their musical output, but this album easily eclipses all their previous work. Steve Holt's inventive guitarwork has become more varied without ever reaching the realms of pointless showboating, Mick Whitney's basslines are as tasteful as ever (if often rendered inaudible by the guitar), and Thomas Noonan's frantic drumming has become even more so, with interesting beats being smattered with crazy fills to perfection. However, the jewel in 36CF's crown is the distinctive vocal style of Brock Lindow. If you happen to have read my review of their first album "Bitterness The Star,"
you'll know that I view him as being one of the best vocalists around, and this hasn't changed a bit. As expected, he acquits himself well, decorating his soaring vocal melodies with his unique warbling vocal technique (if you're not familiar with this, it can only be described as changing the pronunciation of several words, and using a sort of "gargling" sound; it's probably a love it or hate it style, but I think it works very well), and doesn't shy away from the occasional throat-ripping scream either. It's the combination of the frenetic instrumental work and Brock's unique vocal style that sets 36CF apart from their contemporaries, and makes them such a thrilling prospect.
However, it is rather difficult to pigeonhole the band into one particular genre. Sure, their songs all revolve metal in the most general sense, but the variation on the theme is immense. Opener "I'll Go Until My Heart Stops"
is a scream heavy, riff driven song, with a breakdown section, which on the whole, veers towards the thrashier end of metalcore, but then the band immediately throw a curveball with the second track, "Felt Through A Phone Line"
which, with its soaring melodies, subdued intro, and depressing lyrical tack, could almost be called emo (although a hell of a lot more interesting and original than most emo music!).
"On Any Given Night"
begins with a simple but catchy guitar riff over some offbeat drumming before cutting into what is essentially a metal-influenced rock song, with Brock's vocal melodies getting more and more catchy as the song progresses. The general feels of these first three tracks are combined with even more varied riffing and consistantly amazing vocal work on later tracks such as "Midnight Swim"
, but with distinctive enough tunes that no song ever fades into another. Further variety is brought in with "The Great Descent,"
where Steve Holt gets to flex his effects muscles a little, over the top of a laid back and spaced out song (albeit with a few crushing moments of heaviness thrown in here and there).
There are two appearances of guest vocalists, the first and most notable being that of Howard Jones of Killswitch Engage fame, adding his deep growl and high pitched singing to the bowel-quaking heaviness of "Elysium"
. Later on, Jonah Jenkins (who has apparently been part of several influential melodic metalcore bands, the only one of which I am familiar with being Only Living Witness) lays down some vocals on "We Cannot Deny"
. Here's the thing though... With a vocalist as versatile as Brock Lindow present, these other vocalists, good as they are, sound positively weak and boring in comparison. I find myself waiting for the moment that Brock joins them for a vocal harmony, or takes over for a few lines. Despite this, it can't take away from the fact that these are solid and catchy songs, and not anything you'd want to skip past.
As with most albums, there are the odd couple of tracks that don't quite jump out at you like the rest, and for me, these are "Will Pull This In By Hand"
and "Between The Anchor And The Air"
. That's not to say they aren't great songs, but they're the least memorable of an amazing bunch.
The album is rounded off with an acoustic reworking of "Midnight Swim,"
re-titled "The City Ignites"
. However, this re-titling is justified, as the low subdued rattle of Brock's vocals and the beautiful descending lines of picked acoustic guitar give a whole new mood to the song, and end the album perfectly.
Essentially, 36 Crazyfists have distilled the myriad of styles they've previously dealt in, and streamlined them into one amazing beast of an album. As heartfelt as it is heavy, and melodic as it is mindblowing, Rest Inside The Flames
is an essential listen for anyone into melodic rock or metal who wants something a little different.
THE VERDICT ---> 4.5/5
"I'll Go Until My Heart Stops"
"Felt Through A Phone Line"
"On Any Given Night"
"The City Ignites"