Punishing. That is the word to describe True North, the fourth album by this Japanese metal troupe from Tokyo. Now under MDDN management (Joel Madden of GOOD CHARLOTTE fame) this album is set to propel CRYSTAL LAKE into the metal stratosphere. True North is an exciting and absolutely blistering record; full of surprises, this band definitely have a few tricks up their sleeve.
Their explosive brand of hardcore infused metalcore has made them pioneers of heavy music in their homeland, and now they are causing quite a stir in Europe and North America with their first single off the album, Omega. Crashing in with absolutely lethal vocals by Ryo coupled with the ferocious guitars and drumming, Omega is a blinding statement that CRYSTAL LAKE mean business. A truly crushing song, relief is found in melodic electronic effects which adds an interesting dynamic to the brutality of the composition.
Things then take an interesting turn with Hatred, an impressive example of metal with a hip hop flourish. CRYSTAL LAKE execute this mix of genres with aplomb, making this one of the most memorable songs from True North. The band then turn all of that on its head with Metro, a surprisingly catchy song with pop punk overtones, yet it maintains the band’s hardcore intensity. It is this intensity which CRYSTAL LAKE channel into the pummelling title track True North, a brutally honest anthem with lyrics such as “This is the way we are, this is the way we die.” It stands as a testament to how we are who we are, no matter the changes which occur around us.
It would ruin the surprise if the stylistic direction of every song on the album was described in this review, but one song you can become acquainted with before the release is the new track Six Feet Under. A violent 2 minute blast of pure hardcore which will most certainly feel like the aural equivalent of having your face ripped off. It kicks you in the throat then leaves you for dead before you’re washed up by the stunning album closer, Waves. This song perfectly juxtaposes melodic components with unforgivingly heavy elements, which results in a breath-taking finale to a truly spellbinding album. Believe the hype, CRYSTAL LAKE have arrived to claim the metal throne.