Crossfaith – Ex_Machina
Released: August 3rd, 2018
Kenta Koie | Vocals
Kazuki Takemura |Guitar
Terufumi Tamano | Keyboard
Tatsuya Amano |Drums
Hiroki Ikegawa |Bass
Back in 2012, Crossfaith were a relatively unknown quantity. But with the release of the Xion EP the band blew up. The albums that followed were largely great, even if they lacked the focus afforded to them by an EP. In 2015 they released their most controversial album to date; the album Xeno, featured an abundance of clean choruses, which jaded fans of their previous works.
Three years on, the band are about to drop their new album, Ex_Machina onto the public.
So what does it sound like?
The album opens with a short electronic dance number, before morphing into the album proper with the aptly titled ‘Catastrophe’. The song opens with a decent enough heavy riff, but once it reaches the chorus, it ultimately falls flat. It’s an issue, not just for this song, but throughout the album as a whole. ‘Perfect Nightmare’ proves itself to be the best song on the entire album. Heavy and catchy as fuck. It hits you like a ton of bricks and never relents. This is the Crossfaith we were all waiting to hear. However, the song proves to be an outlier and not indicative of the album as an overall whole.
Follow up songs, ‘Destroy’ and ‘Freedom’ feature guests artists, with the latter featuring something called a Ho99o9, whilst the former contains a guest spot from the one and only Rou Reynolds of Enter Shikari fame. Overall, neither song is memorable enough to stand out. Sure, they have some heavy riffs, but the journey to get there is such a slog. The clean vocals once again just miss the mark while neither artist add anything exciting enough to justify their inclusion on the album.
This is not exactly like the time Crossfaith blew us away with their collaboration with Skindred. Just a wasted opportunity all round. At the halfway mark, Crossfaith decide to display a more tender side. Yes, it’s time for the obligatory ballad ‘Lost In You‘. I will say, vocally, it’s one of the better songs on the album to feature cleans. But it’s just a cliche at this point. Every metalcore band in existence has a ballad at the midway point. This one might even pull on your heartstrings. But don’t they all? But wait… there’s more! Maybe Crossfaith were really feeling the lighter in the air moments this time around? But I really have to question, why the second half of the album is so heavily focused on balladesque songs. Surely one is enough? But ‘Milestone’ and ‘Eden In The Rain’ prove the band are not done with this particular experiment, with neither standing out enough for me to say anything beyond – they exist.
The album closes out with the second best song on the album. ‘Daybreak’ finishes the album with focus and leaves you breathless, as the band pummels you into the dust with heavy riffs and catchy choruses. It will probably leave you wondering where this band was for most of the album. The biggest letdown here is the clean vocals, vocalists Kenta Koie does not have a bad singing voice. But it is at times grating, loaded with auto-tune and sometimes unlistenable. It’s sad, because there are moments where it is actually quite good. But it is rarely evident on the songs displayed on this release.
Overall, this album is a massive misfire from a band capable of far better. There is not even an inch of the greatness, we all know this band is capable of achieving. Riddled with cliches we’ve heard a million times before and sporting more ballads than an Ed Sheeran album. I strongly recommend checking out any of their earlier work before diving into the questionable content found on this release.
Crossfaith – Ex_Machina tracklist
1. Deus Ex Machina
3. The Perfect Nightmare
4. Destroy (ft. Ho99o9)
5.Freedom (ft. Rou Reynolds from Enter Shikari)
6. Make A Move
7. Lost In You
10. Eden In The Rain
11. Twin Shadows