36 Crazyfists’ Time and Trauma
For a band that are two decades and six full lengths into their career, Alaska’s 36 Crazyfists continue to play their own distinct brand of alternative metal with little influence from current tricks and trends. Time And Trauma has the band back to their bullish best. The distinctive warbling of Brock Lindow and the slick, bouncy riffs of Steve Holt have not been as memorable since A Snow Capped Romance, the breakthrough album released on the label of the day, Roadrunner. The last three Crazyfists records failed to make much of an impact outside of their die hard fan base due to the predictability of each track. Some of those failings are still present here but thankfully there is an injection of honest and touching metal anthems, an injection that this band desperately needed to avoid putting out another dud.
Time And Trauma is definitely too dense. Nearing an hour long, there are more than a couple of tracks that, on their own merit are fun in one regard but don’t have a real identity among the rest of these “filler” tracks. ‘Also Am I’, ‘Sorrow Sings’ and ‘Swing The Noose’ are all standard verse/chorus numbers with pretty drum fills and hooks that many won’t be able to shake, but they are also full of recycled riffs that seem slapped together to fill out the track list. These types of tracks blot the band’s copy book as the other half of this record is rife with slowburners full of melody and morose wails from Lindow. ‘Vanish’ is their best opening track since ‘At The End Of August’, with a distinct, simple riff the backbone for a tortured vocal hook that will live long past the fading moments of this album. The two stage chorus in ‘Lightless’ and the perfect finale ‘Marrow’ are highlights of the band’s career. Each track with an inspired structure that snaps from pissed off riffs into introspective and emotive laments.
These Alaskans have released their best album for over a decade and should be lauded for this. It would be easy for them to sit back and stagnate but this is not the case. While still being guilty of relying on quantity over quality, the quality that is present will have fans new and old impressed with the latest offering from a band that many would be forgiven for having already forgotten entirely.
36 Crazyfists’ Time And Trauma gets…
It’s time to flog the proverbial dead horse. Deathcore is dead — long live deathcore. The bands that made it a thing are either long gone (Despised Icon) or have evolved into chart-topping powerhouses (Suicide Silence), leaving behind the new breed of bands that all so desperately try to avoid the deathcore tag. Oceano have been around for awhile now and are primarily known for their vocalist and his admittedly rather impressive guttural skills. On their fourth full length released by Earache, the band find themselves swimming in dangerous waters. These waters contain cries of plagiarism and shouts of “Stop playing music, please”. Ascendants is one half hour of tired and contrived Danza worship, with the Danza homage (rip off?) easily the best part about this piece of shit.
Once the obligatory opening breakdown is over with, the album slips into a back and forth circle jerk of heard it before tremolo picked riffs and breakdowns that breakdown into even more breakdowns. Track names are completely unnecessary at this juncture as who can tell them apart? There are a couple of quite sweet riffs that pop their curious heads out before being quickly put back into their place by oppressively ignorant breakdowns. Seriously, there are beatdown bands that are sitting back and listening to this album thinking, “Wow, play some chords for the love of all things musical”. Oceano react by interjecting every second verse with electronics and clean guitars a la Danza IIII. This isn’t clever and it’s so incredibly obvious that it begs belief that they thought it might go unnoticed.
The only thing saving this from owning the lowest score of the year so far is the last track. It actually has some coherence between riffs and breakdowns that dredge a semblance of groove from an otherwise turgid display. Vocalist Adam Warren puts in another shift but has to be wondering what he has to do for another band to snap him up and utilize his talents for a musical endeavour that isn’t as depressingly boring as this.
Oceano’s Ascendants gets…