36 Crazyfists - Lanterns,
I can’t believe that it is thirteen years since I first came across 36 Crazyfists and ‘A Snow Capped Romance’, and that was ten years since they had started, but the Alaskans are now back with their seventh album. As the guys began pondering their next musical evolution in 2016, Brock Lindow (vocals) faced what he describes as “the lowest point in my life.” “It was extreme depression,” he sighs. “I got divorced after 13 years. That tailspun me a little bit. A number of things happened that I wasn’t used to. I’m a pretty upbeat guy, and I’m not accustomed to that feeling. It was a difficult writing process for me. Things didn’t flow for a long time, because I couldn’t get focused outside of my everyday life.” While working on a salmon fishing boat, he started jotting down lyrical ideas at sea. At nature’s whim, Brock surrendered himself to the process and embraced its healing potential. “Eventually, I was like, ‘You need to get this stuff off your chest. That’s what music is about for you’.”
As one might expect from comments such as this, here we have an album that is full of angst, rawness and pain. Steve Holt (guitars) once again took on the additional roles of producing, recording, and mixing, and he deserves special praise as I fully expected to see the name of a top-flight metal producer as it is the production that takes this album to a whole new level. It is easy to see why they have been touring with the likes of Killswitch Engage and Atreyu, as musically they have a lot in common with both bands, although at times they do also remind me of Nickelback! When they are good they are very good indeed, but what does let the album down somewhat is the quality of the material, especially in the second part of ‘Lanterns’. It can get a little pedestrian and “samey”, but when they get it right then these are a force to be reckoned with. The uptempo songs are simply driven along at breakneck speed by Mick Whitney (bass), and Kyle Baltus (drums) while the guitars crunch and riff with downtuned abandon, and Brock screams, shouts and sings as if his life depended on it: and in some ways, it probably did. Hear before purchase.