The marriage between Crystal Lake and Sharptone Records seems like it could be one of the most perfect unions ever created in the music world. On one hard you have a label that is releasing the most cutting edge metalcore out there, and on the other hand you have one of the stalwarts of the genre… a band that pretty much turned metalcore on its head. Now that union of perfection has produced an immaculate child.
Crystal Lake’s Helix is one of the most exciting metalcore albums that I have heard in a long time… and let’s be honest there have been some remarkably good albums coming out in the genre recently. The Japanese outfit launch you into Helix with a robotic voice declaring that ‘every living thing will spiral into dust’… then the impressive onslaught begins. The electronica bursts into life melded together with the severe death growls of Ryo and then entwined with even more robotoic voices. Yes opening track sounds like The Chemical Brothers tackle a death metal band and as a result ‘Aeon’ is sheer brillance.
As you try to catch your breath after such an impressive opening ‘Agony’ demands that you ‘breath in and breathe out’ before Ryo’s screams hit once more and you realise that even though you can never predict what direction or sound the track will create next everything seems to work in perfect unison… it is like organise chaos.
The musicianship of Crystal Lake is there for all to hear with the more melodic ‘+81’ while the combination of Ryo’s vocals with some female harmonies on ‘Lost In Forever’ makes it a track that you want to go back to and listen to over and over. Then there is ‘Outgrow’ which sees Crystal Lake at full flight and sounding like Linkin Park in the good old days.
‘Hail To The Fire’ is sheer brutality both vocally and instrumentally and should silence anyone that says metalcore is not heavy enough for them and then Crystal Lake mixes things up with a mellow keyboard opening to ‘Devilcry’. As the track declares ‘I’m sure as hell not ready to die’ you find yourself thinking it would have been a perfect inclusion in the Tom Cruise film ‘Edge Of Tomorrow.’
The smooth side of Crystal Lake returns again for ‘Just Confusing’ before the band once again reach full flight with ‘Apollo’ and ‘Sanctuary’, tracks that leave the listener in absolute awe and have you hoping that these guys decide to head to Australia for a tour so you can experience the tracks live.
When you listen to the brilliance of Helix you realise that there is little wonder that Crystal Lake are at the forefront of metalcore music. This is stunning album that once again sees these talented musicians re-invent the genre they are entrenched in.