Crossfaith – ‘Ex_Machina’

By Dave Stewart

After gaining international success with 2012’s ‘Zion’, Crossfaith have been on a mission to ensure a lasting impact overseas. The Japanese quintet have succeeded in this, becoming well known for their intense live shows and limitless energy. Their new record ‘Ex_Machina’ is their first full length release in three years and they’re picking up exactly where they left off, only this time there’s a twist. ‘Ex_Machina’ is a concept album that’s set in an alternative near future. The population is being dehumanised by artificial intelligence, turning them into drones. Each track on the record acts as a voice of the resistance, fighting back against the powers that be to hold on to their humanity.

“Our attitude has always been that we should be making something different” says Crossfaith front man Kenta Koie. “The idea of a futuristic sci-fi world not only excites our intellectual curiosity; it allows us to pose questions about our future that also affect our present”. The sci-fi vibe is heavily accented by their love for electronic music. The influence has been audible on every Crossfaith release, but it’s never been as integral to a record as it is here. The synths and futuristic sounds effortlessly paint the picture of the universe they’ve set the record in.

The pace is unforgiving at times, tearing through ‘Catastrophe’ and ‘The Perfect Nightmare’ at break-neck speed. ‘Lost In You’ and ‘Eden In The Rain’ sit at the other end of the spectrum, providing a sense of calm amidst the aggression. ‘Freedom’ is one of many bouncy tracks on offer, featuring a powerful guest vocal from Rou Reynolds of Enter Shikari. There’s a lot of variety on display here, with the feel of the record forever shifting. Put it all together and you’re left with Crossfaith’s most relentless record yet.

This album plays out exactly as you’d imagine a Crossfaith album would. It’s fun, energetic and most importantly, it’s different. Being different is something they take in their stride; never playing by rules other than their own, Crossfaith carve their own path, and all 39 minutes of ‘Ex_Machina’ prove that they are still strolling confidently down it. If you aren’t walking alongside them, now is a good time to start.

DAVE STEWART

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