In the early months of every year, we are subjected to a slew of revoltingly mindless, pointless and useless awards ceremonies like The Grammys, AMA’s, etc. It’s a joke. It’s an excuse to offer praise to high grossing recording “artists” and talentless hacks that got lucky enough to shit out a trendy sounding record. Adding insult to injury, many try to offer awards for Metal performances, of which, clearly, they know nothing about. But alas, there are certain magazines and Metal blogs that attempt to make up for this. Certainly they should have a clue, right? Again, we fall for a clever ruse; hence why I’ve seen AVENGED SEVENFOLD win best metal awards year after year.
Now, I know what many of you are thinking at this moment, “This is a record review, why the hell is he blabbing about award ceremonies?” Well, my ranting banter is not for naught. While I was hearing people gripe about TENACIOUS D winning out at the Grammys over MASTODON (which is a travesty, but who’s surprised? KORN has won a Grammy for Best Metal Performance, so their criteria for what qualifies as Metal is obviously faulty), it got me to thinking about some awards I would give if I were so inclined to do so. I was also listening to the new release from 36 CRAZYFISTS. These two thought bubbles melded to bring me to offer the group praise for being “The Most Underrated Road Warrior Group of 2015.”
I base this unofficial award off the history of the band. Their seventh studio record, Time and Trauma is out now through Spinefarm Records. Now, clearly any group seven albums into their career should be widely known. However, 36CF manage to always fly slightly below the radar of mainstream heavy metal. But this doesn’t seem to be a detriment to the Alaskan quartet. The ensemble has survived since 1994 with a sort of cult following, allowing them to write music that feels more honest than that of their counterparts who face the follow-up pressures instituted by record labels.
This new disc finds the veterans picking up where they left off with 2010’s Collisions and Castaways. The sound is more Metal than Core, as opposed to some of their earlier releases, focusing on riffing and lessening their tendency to add percussive sections that would stand as implied breakdowns. Yet, the group still manages to bring the heavy. This can be found on tracks “Vanish”, “Lightless”, “Time And Trauma”, “Translator”, “Slivers”, and “Gathering Bones”. In addition, the vocals find much more room for clean harmonies, as opposed to screaming, offering the ability to build some incredibly epic choruses, as heard in “Sorrow Sings”, “Swing The Noose” and lead single “Also Am I”.
Overall, Time And Trauma is not an album that strays far from the path that 36 CRAZYFISTS have walked for the past 21-odd years. But for those like myself, who have held a special sentiment for the group, you won’t be disappointed. They found their sound many moons ago, and continue to thrive within it. Hell, the band even continues to offer guest appearances on the disc, with added vocals on “Silencer” and “Marrow”, which has been a staple of all their prior offerings. With that said, I offer to those already familiar with 36CF to grab a copy. But I also extend this suggestion to those not familiar with the band. While I can’t be certain that their Spinefarm Records debut will garnish a great deal of expanded fan base, I would certainly hope to see it happen.
STANDOUT TRACKS: All but “11.24.11”