Lanterns - 36 Crazyfists
Artists: 36 Crazyfists
Review by Steve Jenkins
By churning out a new album every two years between 2002 and 2010, 36 Crazyfists missed out on a lot of family life, but that all changed with a phone call following the release of Collisions and Castaways. The band did the most important thing you can do when you’re reminded that your loved ones are finite, they took a break. This turned out to be not only an incredibly necessary move for Brock Lindow as a human being, but for the future of 36 Crazyfists too.
Collisions and Castaways was 36 Crazyfists on autopilot. They took you to the destination, but there were no detours, no scenery and no landmarks along the way to make the journey anything other than a simple procession. The five year break allowed the band members to grieve, to reflect on life, and to become regular citizens again, but most importantly it reignited the spark of aggression which pervaded their early work and made them so appealing. Time and Trauma is the darkest, heaviest record they've released in years, and it sees them recapture at least some of the magic they used to have. Now, just two years later, we have Lanterns.
The riffs are often more controlled than on previous releases, and guitarist Steve Holt opts for a Devil Sold His Soul approach, with heavy slabs of guitar preferred to fanciful lead work. It’s a successful formula as it complements the tone set by Lindow, and both the efficacious "Death Eater" and the crushingly heavy "Better To Burn" greet you with thick, distorted riffs which barely abate throughout.
Vocalist Brock Lindow has always been the band’s biggest selling point, and that continues to be the case here. However, to say he sounds revitalized on Lanterns would be to do him a great disservice, as it would ignore the real reasons behind his improved, potent delivery. The lyrics bubbling underneath his harsh yells reveal the difficulties of the last 5 years, and they help to explain why his increasingly gruff voice is charged with intensity.
The dark, crushing sound of Lanterns will guarantee fans of their early work will be pleased by the return of the heavier sound, but the inspiration for the album and the message it conveys are infinitely more powerful than any of the crushing riffs or grating vocals. Lanterns is pretty much a continuation of their catalogue without much of a progression, it's solid but nothing special.
6 out of 10.
Check out the lyric video for "Death Eater" below:
Lanterns is out now via Spinefarm Records / Caroline Australia