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Crossfaith aptly describe themselves as Japanese electro mosh. Let the fact that this band can’t quite fit into the ambiguous genre labels of metalcore or post hardcore be your first hint as to what you’re about to witness. If you are currently on the cusp of experiencing these boys for the first time, you should take it as a warning, because Apocalyze is the heaviest, most chaotic, most distinctly Crossfaith release yet. Hold on to your kimonos, this record is out of control.
The opening track Prelude gives us some tastily ominous orchestral ambience that introduces the grittier, less party-inspired tone of the album. That’s not to say Crossfaith don’t bring the party like they did before, but now instead of the brighter atmosphere we had heard in tracks like Jagerbomb we’re neck deep in the hard stuff.
We Are The Future, the first single and first full-length track on the album, gives you the unique Crossfaith taste in one hefty dose – acidic synth and booming electronic bass to the face like a sidekick. One thing that sets the Crossfaith blend apart from similar metalcore/electro cocktails is keyboardist Terufumi Tamano. Determined not to be just bridge-filler, the turntablist-turned-moshmaster packs fierce energy into every crevice of silence throughout each track.
Tracks like Monolith from the band’s previous record, Zion, dipped our toes into the industrial-inspired dubstep that now appears en masse in Apocalyze. Wobble bass that wouldn’t seem out of place on a Skream track ambushes you in the midst of the more rhythmic breakdowns. It spikes the standard palm-muting chug-a-chug with a distinctly Crossfaith aftertaste.
Vocalist Kenta Koie continues to remain on point with vocal ferocity and lyrical brutality. His punchy lyricism and blistering attack is reminiscent of Parkway Drive’s Winston McCall. We’ve yet to hear this band’s Carrion, but with the potential of Koie at the lead, we can’t be far off.
Holistically speaking, synth remains as integral as ever. It has taken a leap towards a more bellicose sound that melds seamlessly with the increasingly brutal instrumentation. Burning White is the August Burns Red techno-space-adventure we always dreamed of coming from Crossfaith. On that note, it’s important to highlight the most distinctly electro voice on the record, Eclipse. If The Prodigy met Asking Alexandria in a coke-fueled fistfight, this would be the perfect backing track. That said, despite wearing its influences proudly on its sleeves, the electro parts of the track still give off a distinctly Japanese vibe.
Countdown to Hell easily takes the award for best intro on the album. An absolutely filthy “F**k you!” brings in one of the most aggressive verses we’ve heard from this five-man army. With more chugging in two bars than the entire Jagerbomb video, it makes you question where the DJ fits into the mix. That is, right before a massive synth breakdown once again renders you utterly brain-melted. Despite being the most minimal in the electro department, this is still a highlight of the album.
Above all, Apocalyze is wonderfully eclectic. It’s such an outrageously chaotic amalgamation of sound and influence you’ll find yourself asking what the hell you just listened to, in the absolute best way possible. It’s gloriously rough around the edges, which may not make it the best introduction for new listeners but for fans that can’t wait to get enough of Crossfaith, Apocalyze will feed that addiction just nicely.