Alaskan heavyweights 36 Crazyfists are back with their eighth studio album of cathartic metal. ‘Lanterns’ will no doubt build on their ever-growing popularity as they nail a bunch of hooks, regularly drift into heartfelt longing and basically perfect the art of the four-minute metal tune.
‘Death Eater’ provides a furiously frantic start, with a bitingly heavy number that ebbs and flows between full-on attack and slower brooding sections. However, it sets a kind of template for the heavier tracks, providing a formula they explore time and again. It’s no bad thing, as they know how to nail a hook and can certainly rock, it’s just that eight of the twelve tracks weigh in at around the same length of four minutes. With each including a mid-section interlude at roughly the same point.
Nevertheless, there is plenty to like about ‘Lanterns’; the pulsating groove of ‘Wars to Walk Away From’, the emotive stadium rock of ‘Sea and Smoke’ and brooding epic ‘Old Gold’ being particularly high quality. In fact, everything is well delivered from the bass riff of ‘Damaged Under Sun’ and the killer hook of ‘Better to Burn’ through to the blistering ‘Below the Graves’ and the “rain on me” vibe of ‘Bandage for Promise’.
The only downside is that one or two tracks such as ‘Sleepsick’ and ‘Laying Hands’ stick faithfully to their formula and are on the unspectacular side.
Even so, formulaic songwriting aside, ‘Lanterns’ provides more than enough interesting moments to be worth repeated listens and the overall quality is seriously high; the Alaskan quartet having obviously honed their art to perfection.
‘Lanterns’ by 36 Crazyfists is out now on Spinefarm Records.
Words by Edward Layland (@EdwardLayland)