It’s been five years since 36 Crazyfists released a record, and in that time, singer Brock Lindow has been through life’s ups (having a daughter) and downs (his mother passing away, his best friend’s wife dying in a car accident). Those extremes in emotion are readily evident on 36 Crazyfists’ new album, Time and Trauma.
This is a crushing record, not just in the lyrical sense, but in the sheer weight of the music. Lindow’s signature, seemingly-uncontrollable vibrato and guitarist Steve Holt’s ability to craft intricate melodies that are still heavy are in prime form (“Lightless”), even if Lindow sometimes misses the mark with his vocal lines (that chorus in “11.24.11” makes me cringe every time). Gone are the percussive acrobatics of Thomas Noonan that made earlier 36 Crazyfists‘ records so much fun. New drummer Kyle Baltus is more straightforward in his playing, which is not a detriment, but Anderson is sorely missed.
As I said earlier, this record is a crusher, but with the good crush comes the bad crush as well. My main gripe with Time and Trauma falls to Holt’s production style. His guitars sound thick and chunky, which is fine, but this renders Mick Whitney’s bass almost inaudible. The massive emphasis on mids and lows may sound good through speakers, but for those of us who do our music listening through headphones, it sounds like tonally-shaped mud, and it detracts from the experience a bit.
I’m not gonna lie, it’s good to have new 36 Crazyfists material grace my earholes. This band, to me, has always seemed like good alcohol: they just keep getting better with age. My dislike of the production doesn’t change the fact that Time and Trauma is one of their stronger records, and the authentic emotions behind Lindow’s lyrics should give any upstart metalcore band pause before they attempt to call their high school dating habits the source of their pain.
Time and Trauma is out February 17 on Spinefarm Records.
SkullsNBones Rating (Out Of 5):