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36 CRAZYFISTS ‘Lanterns’

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Straight off the bat, let me make things clear, I fucking LOVE 36 Crazyfists and will not have a bad word spoken about them! They are one of the pioneers of the ‘core’ scene and sound as we know it. So all you kids out there thinking there is another new thing around the corner, please get out you heavy metal encyclopedias and Google search for Alaska’s 36 Crazyfists.

The vocals of Brock are a beauty to be heard and experienced, and unlike anything you will have heard at all; sensationally unique and all-consuming and encompassing. He has a rare talent where he can draw us, the listener, in with ease and hold us in the palm of his hand. Switching from tragically beautiful, melodic wavering brilliance to guttural anger sustained and moulded with anger, Brock Lindow is a rare breed of vocalist, and I am sure a criminally unknown frontman.

Backing this masterful throat of Brock is the rest of 36CF, consisting of Steve Holt on guitar whose simple yet all consuming virtuosity is stunning, but what holds this four-piece together in the thundering powerhouse of the duo of Mick on bass and driven perfectly by Kyle on Drums.

The whole ensemble that is 36 Crazyfists works so perfectly and tightly as a cohesive unit, and I feel like they are a rare breed of a group that feeds off one another. Listening to each new release is like hearing four blokes in a rehearsal space that can finish one another’s sentences.

Lanterns is no exception! From the first teaser “Death Eater”, we are treated to a mature slab of heartfelt brutality that easily leads us to a contender for album of the year. That is why I love Lanterns because having been surrounded by 36 Crazyfists for the better part of fifteen years, I have heard both their sound and songwriting as a whole, matured to a point where I genuinely feel that they are an important piece of metal history due to never having compromised or diverted from their path. Holding true to who they are and their roots and not trending or swaying to a more easily ‘profitable’ way. Yes, they have their sound which is easily identifiable and recognised, no different to Slayer or Bolt Thrower or even Ozzy. Sometimes, we as listeners like to come home to our staples and Lanterns is that album from 36CF. “Wars To Walk Away From” just reiterates my point, pounding and punishing as it leads elegantly and perfectly into “Better to Burn” and “Damaged Under The Sun” (the latter being easily one of my faves), but what I am always eager to hear is the melodic/slower contribution to their album. The standout from their first album from 2002 of “Bitterness, the Star” is presented here in the track, “Slit Wrist Theory” (I implore you to check that song out, it is a cracker and one of my all-time faves!). But in 2017, we are gifted with “Sea and Smoke” followed beautifully and blissfully by “Where Revenge Ends”, sorrowfully serenaded by the band before being magnificently blasted back to metal heaven in the guise of “Sleepsick”. “Sleepsick” drives the force and amazing entity that is 36 Crazyfists – and their incredible new offering known as Lanterns – to an end in a way that will have you putting the needle back to the start as quickly as it ended.

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