Crossfaith – ‘Species’

By Liam Knowles

Mixing heavy music with electronic / dance music isn’t exactly a new idea. From the catchy rave-rock of Enter Shikari to the panic-inducing glitchy hardcore of Code Orange, it’s a concept that the alternative crowd is now familiar and comfortable with. As such, you must now be doing something interesting with the available elements to stand out from the crowd, compared with a few years back when you could clumsily slap some dance beats into a metal song and be called a pioneer.

Unfortunately for Japanese trance-metal outfit Crossfaith, this EP just does not meet that standard. It’s not that it’s bad, per se, as the songs are packed with energy and the record itself is extremely well produced. It just… Imagine that you forced a computer to listen to nothing but the soundtracks to the Resident Evil movies for 24 straight hours. This EP sounds like it has been written by the resulting algorithm. All the expected elements are present and correct, but it is almost completely devoid of soul or personality.

That’s not to say that there aren’t some cool moments on ‘Species’. The slow, crushing section around the middle of ‘Digital Parasite’ hits genuinely hard, it’s just a shame it follows a load of faux-edgy sub-nu metal spoken word bits. The cleanly-sung chorus in ‘Endorphin’ is catchy as hell, it’s just a shame the electronic elements in that track sound like they should be in one of those cheesy “goth rave” scenes you’d see in a film like Blade or The Matrix. There are high points, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

The real low point of this record is ‘None Of Your Business’, an awkward mix of metal and aggressive rap which features Japanese rapper Jin Dogg. This track contains some of the worst lyrics of recent years, with bars like ‘I don’t give a fuck about, you will never freak me out, no choice you better back down, I’ll give you shit and staple your mouth.’ The whole thing feels like one of those viral videos you see of a lad who looks like he couldn’t fight his way out of a paper bag calling everyone in his hometown out for a scrap. It’s not quite as bad when the vocals switch from English to Japanese because at least most western listeners won’t have to know how bad the rest of the lyrics are.

Closing track ‘Your Song’ is a genuine joy after its predecessor, but even without context it’s a really great song from start to finish. The heavy verse sections are full of lush chord progressions that don’t always take the easiest route from A to B like on previous tracks, the clean vocal sections are impassioned, and the electronic elements are more subtle, allowing the band’s obviously strong musicianship and songwriting ability to shine through.

This EP is not good, but that’s not because Crossfaith aren’t a good band. It feels more like they tried to do too many things at once and ended up missing the mark with most of them. ‘Your Song’ alone is proof that they have the capacity to be a fantastic band if they take more time to figure out what works and what doesn’t, rather than just throwing a load of shit at a wall and hoping some of it sticks. That said, Crossfaith do have an established reputation as an extremely fun live band, and no doubt these new songs, whilst mostly poor on record, will have the bonkers energy needed to slide seamlessly into the band’s live repertoire. Existing fans of the band will already know that, so this EP should appeal to them, but it’s unlikely to win over anyone checking in for the first time.

LIAM KNOWLES

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