Album Review: Crystal Lake ‘True North’


Despite forming 14 years ago, Japanese hardcore metal band Crystal Lake are still rearing to go. After releasing three albums and embarking on many nationwide tours, Crystal Lake still did not feel up to their fullest potential. The band underwent massive band changes in order to achieve their highest goal, and began touring both nationally and internationally in 2014. Crystal Lake will release their fourth full-length album, True North, on December 2nd through Artery Recordings.

The album opens with “Alpha”, a brief eerily synthesized intro, what seems to be an attempt to ease the listener into the remainder of the album. The into to “Hatred” is purely guitar before vocalist, Ryo Kinoshita, creeps into the listener’s ear. The angst builds up before dropping into an insanely heavy instrumental break.

The title track shows an infusion of sound, a smart move for the band in order to attract listeners from a broad range of genres. Crystal Lake seamlessly combines the coarse screaming vocals with smoother melodic vocals. This track feels like a slightly heavier pop-punk tune. “Six Feet Under” wastes no time before diving into the blood pumping sounds. Reminiscent of the vocals and pacing seen within some of Beartooth’s most popular tracks, “Six Feet Under” will be a real treat for any hardcore fan.

The album closes with “Waves”, what seems to be an interesting “mish-mosh” infusion of pacing and sounds. Opening with an island vibe, the song then transitions to a slower pace, but continues with the faster paced vocals. During the chorus, listeners are shown the spoken word side of Crystal Lake as the band throws their best shot at rapping before switching the flip to a melodic hymn sounding vocal.

While the album as a whole is killer and shows Crystal Lake putting another foot forward in the right direction, “Waves” is an interesting choice to conclude such a powerful album.

When speaking about the forthcoming release, Kinoshita said, “Before we started writing this album, we all knew this record would define who we are, where we stand and where we are heading.” True North shows progression from the wildly popular Japanese band and it will be interesting to see what the future holds in store for Crystal Lake.

You can pre-order the album here.

Review by Jess Williams

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