Crystal Lake decimate with their heaviest track yet, ‘Aeon’.
“Holy fucking shit“. That’s all I could say to myself after hearing Crystal Lake’s latest tune, the monstrous ‘Aeon‘. Quite frankly, this Japanese metalcore band have never sounded this heavy before, and the end result is astonishingly satisfying. Past songs like ‘Prometheus‘, ‘Omega‘ and ‘Apollo‘ have all contained their respective heavier passages, yes, but this is on a whole other level! What works so well about ‘Aeon‘ is not only the sheer intensity of its hulking mechanical circuitry, but how each member of the Tokyo group is cohesively matching one another’s extreme musical output. All culminating in ‘Aeon‘ being the ballsiest track in Crystal Lake’s discography; a song that just keeps on getting heavier and heavier the longer it’s run-time gallops ahead. And a big part of that pay-off comes down to the distinct performances from each member that push this beast forward.
The lower-than-hell drop tunings and bouncy hardcore riffs from guitarists Yudai Miyamoto and Shinya Hori are all present and accounted for, yet haven’t lost their spark or energy. Aside from some relentless blast beats, the spaced-out breakdown outro becomes leg-day for drummer Gaku Taura, as the guitars paired with his double-kick work reach a ludicrous level of sharp-attack extreme-metal that even Meshuggah and Fear Factory would shit their pants at. Vocalist Ryu Kinoshita has not only improved his low screams and death metal gutturals ten-fold, but he’s also taken on some surprising yet solid black metal influences too; showing off frosty higher register screams during the tremolo-riddled blast sections. Just when we thought we knew what the guy’s full vocal range was, he comes out of nowhere to knock any and all expectations right out of the goddamn park. Also on the topic of vocals, AJ Rebollo from Issues guest features from 1:40-2:03, and much like Crystal Lake’s own frontman, I didn’t know AJ could scream like that either. (I have more faith in the next Issues release as a result).
When Radiohead released ‘OK Computer‘ back in 1997 and said that computers are taking over the social conscious and that we’ll worship technology like a deity, Crystal Lake took detailed notes. As the lyrics and themes of this polished, cybernetic song and its accompanying flashy visuals reinterpret religious imagery by substituting A.I., algorithms, and robots into the proceedings. Alongside some well-placed synths and modulated vocal effects, it’s a subversion of man as ruler before the tools and machines we create undo us; that digital code and our DNA will become entwined and that we’ll lose. It’s definitely an in-vogue comment about the ease and safety of the digital age eventually ruining us, but one that’s presented better than most. For instance, what their peers in Crossfaith discuss with their music in terms of sci-fi aesthetics and man-vs-machine themes just got outdone by Crystal Lake, all within a single song and music video no less.
In so many words, ‘Aeon‘ is fucking bonkers, and easily one of the best Crystal Lake songs and music videos thus far. The group’s next album, ‘Helix‘, is set to drop sometime in 2019 via SharpTone Records. In the mean time, you can read more about Crystal Lake’s last single, ‘The Circle‘ (which gets a nice little lyrical reference here in ‘Aeon‘) over yonder. An Australian tour from these guys would be pretty sick but I’ve given up all hope at this point, honestly. Oh well, a man can still dream.