In May I wrote an editorial in which I wondered aloud (as I so often do) what would become of 36 Crazyfists, a band whose record label dynamics had suddenly and drastically changed after its founders jumped ship and gave up their stake in Ferret to Warner Music Group’s ILG (Independent Label Group).
Well, those questions remain; only time will answer them.* But at least on the part of the music, 36 Crazyfists have taken me by surprise by writing a pretty darn decent album.
I really was not expecting this; I’d never been into the band except for the song “The All Night Lights” and couldn’t find much that separated them from so many other 2nd wave metalcore bands. “Serviceable but unspectacular metalcore” would’ve been my assessment, but their new album Collisions & Castaways — which comes out tomorrow — changes all that. 36CF haven’t exactly reinvented the wheel and they still indulge in certain tried-and-true metalcore techniques (for better or worse), but they’ve also really stepped up their game. The songwriting is more concise, the band takes more musical chances, the playing is tighter and crisper, the production better… it’s as if the band turned up a knob for every element of themselves by 1. And of course on top of it all there’s vocalist Brock Lindow, whose slippery, wavering voice is the most unique weapon this band has.
Take a gander at the entirety of Collisions & Castaways over at TuneLab, which is streaming the whole album for a limited time. Album-opener “In the Midnights,” with its undulating, off-time riffs, is my favorite track, and it’s definitely a little different than what I think you’d expect from this band. Again, it’s not like the band has undergone a tremendous transformation or anything, but they’ve definitely improved by noticeable measures. Let’s call it a happy little surprise.
*Full disclosure: ILG has purchased ads on MetalSucks to promote this record. Despite what the Internet trolls will inevitably say (and in seeming ignorance of the tons of bands we mercilessly trash whose labels buy ads with us too) this in no way affects our coverage/opinion of the band’s music.