36 Crazyfists
Lanterns


3.5
great

Review

by Nat S. USER (18 Reviews)
October 11th, 2017 | 10 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 36 Crazyfists in 2017 - both exactly like you'd expect, and completely different.

Up until 2010, you knew exactly what a new 36 Crazyfists album meant. The Alaska quartet had been peddling a unique blend of metalcore, post-hardcore, nu metal (admittedly less so on later releases) and other styles of rock and metal for the previous eight years, releasing albums that were nothing if not consistent. Though many fans feel 36CF peaked in 2004 with A Snow Capped Romance, in truth, every one of the group's releases that decade speaks to their talent for dismantling subgenre barriers, and most of them still sound fresh to this day.

Then came Collisions and Castaways. This was, at its heart, 36CF on steroids. Eschewing a lot of the melodic aspects of their earlier releases and amplifying the metal influence, Collisions... set itself apart from the group's discography and actually seemed to herald a new direction for them. Indeed, its 2015 follow-up, Time and Trauma, sounded like an attempt to return to the group's earlier sound while retaining much of their new-found heavier side. Suddenly, 36CF's 'signature style' became a lot less easy to place.

Lanterns, then, is something of a twin-headed behemoth. It's the sound of two bands colliding - the 36CF we all know and love, and the harder-hitting one we’ve seen more recently. Some of its tracks, such as "Better to Burn" and "Below the Graves", do recall the likes of "At the End of August", but even these are coated in a metallic sheen that makes them feel much more aggressive. On the other hand, there are cuts like "Sea and Smoke", with its slower, dirgey feel, and "Sleepsick", with its crushing riffs and unclean vocals aplenty. The twist is that none of these tracks fall squarely into either camp, rather taking elements of both while erring towards one side or the other – while this might compromise the album’s cohesiveness, it at least means we’re not getting a straight rehash of any previous album.

Musically speaking, Lanterns is pretty hard to fault. It's undoubtedly one of the more technically proficient offerings in 36CF's catalogue, and the band members have stepped up to it in admirable fashion. Steve Holt's abilities as a guitarist have only improved since last time around, nailing long successions of riffs with impressive skill and offering a neat solo on “Laying Hands”. Kyle Baltus's drum lines, even if they never reach jaw-dropping levels of complexity, still leave their mark on the songs without ever overpowering the other elements. The album's more relenting moments also have their share of ingenuity to them: the breakdown around two-and-a-half minutes into "Sleepsick" lends a perfect sense of duality to an otherwise very bleak song, the verses of "Old Gold" set the song’s moody tone quite effectively, and closer "Dark Corners" has the potential to be just as impactful as "Marrow" off Time and Trauma was.

Of course, it wouldn't be a 36CF review without dedicating at least a paragraph to Brock Lindow. Situated somewhere between unintelligible gargling and overly emotive yelling, Lindow's vocals have indeed been this band's distinguishing factor for the longest time. Listening to Lanterns, however, you'd swear the man has been on a diet of sandpaper for the last couple of years - never has he sounded so hoarse. This becomes most noticeable six tracks into the record, on acoustic ballad "Where Revenge Ends”. All that said, his voice does start to return to 'normal' in the second half of the record, even if his unclean vocals are a little harsher than they were in the ASCR days.

If you were to corner a 36CF fan in the street shortly after Time and Trauma landed and ask them how they thought its successor would sound, their answer could easily be something like this. Lanterns takes the ancient-future attitude of that album and pushes it on to its next logical evolution. The mixing of harder styles with ones we’d more commonly expect from the band might confuse or even turn off some listeners, but it's this that distinguishes Lanterns from anything else 36CF has done and makes it worth its place in their discography. It could easily lead to a change in musical direction for this band, but even if it doesn't, it's still a solid release in its own right - just like any other 36CF record I can think of.



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user ratings (70)
3
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
NorwichScene
October 11th 2017


3304 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

A diet of sandpaper. You get a pos just for that lol

Confessed2005
October 11th 2017


5735 Comments


I was a big fan of Bitterness the Star and A Snow Capped Romance. Haven't really checked anything they have done since Rest Inside the Flames and I doubt I will check this but good review, pos.

MoosechriS
October 11th 2017


6353 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Need to give this a look, good review dude pos'd

artiswar
October 11th 2017


13982 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Probably their weakest album but Old Gold and Dark Corners really end things on a high note.

sspedding
October 12th 2017


5701 Comments


I got bored of these guys. A Snow Capped Romance is still a great record though.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
October 12th 2017


32073 Comments


Not a bad album

Dedicated1
October 13th 2017


175 Comments


Best thing they've released since 2008. Honestly didn't expect it.

artiswar
October 14th 2017


13982 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I liked Collisions and Trauma better than this for sure.

gschwen
July 16th 2018


989 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I'd consider myself a fan of the band, but found my fanaticism wavering after Tide & Takers. That record is merely "decent" and the three following it, including this one, aren't very good. Just... not interesting.



What really stood the first four albums apart from these last three were the hooks and songwriting. At the beginning they were mixing in just enough post-hardcore to keep them away from being stale nu-metal, and slowly piling in the metalcore influence as that scene got bigger.



I think they'd still be relevant if they pushed forward as a post-hardcore band rather than a metalcore band. I just feel like it's not their forte.

Robert048
February 2nd 2021


43 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

These guys do no wrong in my opinion. Every record has its place. Just a solid band.



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