Crystal Lake released their third major album and despite their best efforts these guys are still somehow the best kept secret in metalcore. Every time I post about them somebody says, “wow they’re amazing, I don’t know why I didn’t listen to them before”. I don’t know either, this is one of the very few metalcore bands you should be paying attention to.
Crystal Lake has been a “break-out band” since they released ‘The Sign’ in 2015 and I’m still not sure why they haven’t truly blown up. The lack of recognition they’e received over the past few years is a testament to how weak the metalcore scene currently is. If this were 2010 they would have immediately became the next Of Mice & Men. But no, they’re struggling to even hit Wage War’s level and it makes zero sense.
My thoughts on ‘Helix’ are similar to the ones I had on ‘True North’. Most of the songs are incredible and I just accept that there are going to be a couple weird ones I don’t particularly care for. It’s a byproduct of how creative and diverse the band is. They masterfully combine metalcore, hardcore, and deathcore so it shouldn’t be surprising that they incorporate electronic, rap, and pop elements as well.
The album starts with “Aeon”, one of the best metalcore songs to come out in recent years. It’s an absolute roller coaster of brutality that takes you through blast beats, a hardcore breakdown, and some of the evilest growls I’ve heard. This song single handedly shows Crystal Lake’s ability to innovate a genre and Ryo’s higher pitch, black metal screams just opened up an entirely new door. They transcend stereotypes and break genre barriers in a way that very few bands have before.
“Lost In Forever” has a more emotional feel and the instruments aren’t tuned as low. The chorus will surely be a crowd favorite while the band keeps it going strong enough to elevate it above becoming a standard anthem song (which is exactly what “Outgrow” is).
“Hail To The Fire” brings an energy that hasn’t been seen in metalcore in a long time. It reminds me a lot of Alien Weaponry’s Maori influences and the chants are a fresh take on over used gang vocals.
“Devilcry” contains my favorite sections of rap vocals and could possibly become their most popular song to play live due to its range of sounds. Ryo’s cleans especially stand out and exemplify his versatility.
“Just Confusing” is the most out of place track, but the more I listen to it the more I respect it. Although it’s not in their traditional style, it’s a uniquely Crystal Lake song.
My only real complaint is that this 12 song album really only has 9 songs since 2 are interludes and Apollo came out a year and a half ago. They should’ve put “Machina”, the other song that came out with “Apollo” on the album too, especially because it’s one of the heaviest they’ve ever made and would have balanced the album out better.