Album Review // CROSSFAITH ‘EX_MACHINA’
The concept album from Crossfaith is a thrilling ride from start to finish, and it’s undeniably the best work put out by the outfit that pushes their unique sound to dazzling new heights.
Crossfaith really take their own sound to soaring new heights with their latest album EX_MACHINA, in a whirlwind of crushing instrumentals and gripping electronics that will keep you completely engaged from start to finish.
The album is set in an alternative future where a ruling class, known as Angels, maintains control through turning people into drones, explained in opening track Deus Ex Machina. The nightmarish concept is conveyed perfectly in the track through the dramatic sound effects and tense electronics, as a booming narrative voice declares, “Catastrophe has come to life”.
The songs of the album represent the voice of the resistance, in the form of underdogs known as Demons. As Deus Ex Machina seamlessly flows into Catastrophe, the instrumentals take over the electronic melody, as guttural screams rip through thrashing guitars and expose a wild, untamed energy to the album.
The Perfect Nightmare is undoubtedly one of the heaviest material the band has released, and it brings shattering riffs that will leave you quaking. Relentless blast-beats and vociferous screaming slam into you with brute force, and hammer at you mercilessly. The whole pace is pulled back for the bridge, creating a menacing atmosphere as the screams slowly give way to an ominous electronic melody. The drums pick up the pace again as vocalist Ken Koie repeatedly hammers into you the message “I am the perfect nightmare”, and by the end of the track, you won’t have any doubt about this statement.
You’ll be left with an equal longing to dance and mosh with Destroy, which features a guest appearance from Ho99o9. Electronica beats open the track, only for annihilating instrumentals and obliterating vocals to crash in without warning. The different vocal texture of Ho99o9 adds an extra dimension to this raging track, and draws out a primitive quality that lies underneath the concept of the album.
A more dancelike vibe is created in Freedom, and the sirens that open the track almost seem to forewarn of the fire of the track. The rapping section from Rou Reynolds brings in a completely different feeling, and the interplay between electronics and instrumentals in this track make for an exhilarating listening.
The album is not caustic from start to finish; on such example is the melodic Lost In You. A gripping chorus features a massive sound that is meant for arenas, and the clean vocals form a nice contrast against the harsh vocals of earlier tracks.
Another melodic moment comes in the form of Milestone, which breaks from the album concept for a brief period to tell the story of Crossfaith. Rousing riffs complement hopeful lyrics such as “Together not alone”, and you’ll feel one with the music as a chorus sings “We’re coming home, we’re coming home”.
Crossfaith’s newest album pushes their sound and creativity, showcasing a variety of styles that have been carefully manipulated to form the band’s most cohesive piece of work to date. And although the future in the album’s world is dark, there is no doubt that Crossfaith have a dazzling future ahead of them.