EP REVIEW: Species (CROSSFAITH)
EP Species // ARTIST Crossfaith
Few could pull off a blend of metalcore, electronic and industrial panache quite like Japanese behemoths Crossfaith, and their upcoming EP Species due out tomorrow is a riotously blithe offering that'll leave you gasping for air after its short but abrasively sweet 5 tracks.
Crossfaith; a melted mash-up of brawls, swagger and hooky grit that has enamoured and challenged heavy fans across the globe. Coming to life in Osaka, Japan in the mid-2000s, the quintet have since evolved beyond nu-metal covers in their early days into an intense musical whirlwind akin to Pantera and Slipknot hanging out a rave in the Blade Runner universe. But while a Crossfaith experience is one laced with relentless walls of sound and polished abrasion, there's a defiant sense of catharthis and relatability lurking behind the snarl for those willing to dip their toes into something a bit off the beaten track. And it's on the group's forthcoming EP Species that we find Crossfaith at quite possibly their heaviest and most experimental selves yet, with a balls-out 15 minutes of rage and raw beauty awaiting from one of the heavy world's absolute elite.
Jolting off to a ballistic start, Digital Parasite is a no-holds-barred mix of melodic death metal and menacing trap (yes, you read right) that'll rattle you to your core and spit you out after less than 3 minutes as Crossfaith wield their ridiculously tight riffs and rhythmics beneath caustic vocals and the resounding repetition of the Species title growled throughout the track.
DIGITAL PARASITE (CROSSFAITH)
Leaning headily into their electronic ways, Endorphin follows next with a nostalgic metalcore/electronica brawler that yearns to utterly demolish your speakers with dance-tastic hooks intertwined with clean and harsh vocals, while readily offering a tune that would perfectly sit on the new Matrix Soundtrack with its 90s spine and gritty soul. And if you weren't already enamoured with frontman Kenta Koie's diverse vocals, brace yourself for Truth of Insanity as Koie explodes in this power metal fanfare dripping with blastbeats and blistering guitars that inevitably calls to mind the frenzy of DragonForce - but still with the signature genre smash Crossfaith bring every step of the way.
For those in the Crossfaith know, this is a group particularly fond of a collaboration (including previous team-ups with Enter Shikari frontman Rou Reynolds and Caleb Shomo from Beartooth) - but Species finds the group looking closer to home on None of Your Business with the barbed stylings of Japanese rapper Jin Dogg really upping the menacing ante on this penultimate track. Offering subdued havoc laced once again with metalcore and electronica, None of Your Business is a far more straightforward song technically than previous tracks - but nonetheless one that is heightened by the back-and-forth between Jin Dogg and Koie's vocals.
Almost in a blink of an eye, Your Song steps up as the closing track for Species, a particularly emotive turn for Crossfaith and one that juxtaposes some of the darker themes on the EP with its sprawling melodic beauty mixed amongst some down and dirty chugs. It's certainly not a ballad, as the band themselves have adamantly professed, but it's as close as we'll probably get to a Crossfaith love song as harsh and clean vocals whip lovingly around the affable sonic density.
It's no secret that a Crossfaith release is no place for the faint-hearted; between their barbed metalcore and Prodigy-esque theatrics, there's certainly a lot to digest for those who prefer their tunes on the straight and narrow. But it's these very elements that so starkly showcase the allure and endurance of this Osaka lot, and Species is a heavy wonderland that allows itself to think outside the box while also simultaneously ripping said box to shreds. Few bands would be able to pull of such a coup to dish up the amount of experimentation Crossfaith have with Species, and this EP is just the beginning of a brand new and exciting phase for one of the most prolific heavy bands kicking around right now.
CROSSFAITH'S BRAND NEW EP SPECIES IS DUE OUT TOMORROW VIA UNFD. FOR MORE INFO, HEAD HERE.
BY TIANA SPETER