I have been beyond excited to review this album, and now, the time has come. From the immaculate metalcore Japanese band, Crystal Lake comes their 4th full-length album Helix. Helix as a whole is something else. In case you don’t know, Crystal Lake consists of Ryo Kinoshita on vocals, Shinya Hori on rhythm guitar, Gaku Taura on drums, Bitoku Sakamoto on bass, and Yudai Miyamoto on lead guitar. This collective has made incredible strides in the metalcore scene launching off in popularity with their cover of “Rolling” by Limp Bizkit, as well as just having fantastic original material. The last album True North made Helix have a lot to live up to, and Helix crushes it with no remorse. Now, let’s begin the review and analyze what all is happening in this album.
To start, let’s work with what we first got to hear. I’m not talking about Aeon. I’m actually talking about Apollo. Apollo was the first single we got to hear from this band and it was a banger at birth. We got to hear the synergy of Crystal Lake put forth into a track filled with hard-hitting melodies and vocal play that gives an idea of how Helix would go. Well, if you thought Helix would sound like that every song, you would actually be wrong. Why? Because Aeon came out, and not only was it the hardest track they have ever produced, but it showed us a side of Ryo that we have never seen before. We heard vocals that you would hear in the deathcore genre be mixed in with Ryo’s usual shout scream technique accompanied by the hardest instrumental work and use of samples I think I’ve ever heard (other than Brand of Sacrifice). Aeon was a shock nonetheless and a good one. It showed us that Crystal Lake still can shake things up and has not lost any sort of growth.
Furthermore, looking into the album now as a whole. Helix is a beautiful creation that blends elements from several subgenres, such as deathcore as mentioned previously, post-hardcore/metalcore, you name it. Helix does it all and does it all well. Another thing, the production quality for legitimately everything is a spectacle. I’m telling you when I say that this album does not disappoint, it really doesn’t. All the sounds you hear are crisp and clear and has absolutely no flaws about it. With that all being said, go into this album expecting something different each track while still keeping the string to tie all the tracks together in sight. Let it take you somewhere new each time and I promise you’ll enjoy it even more.
To sum things up, I think of a few things. One, this was a perfect way to evolve from True North. Elements of the past work still show in Helix, while also showing that Helix in and of itself is a masterpiece. The way things are handled just adds even more depth to the album. From the samples to instrumentals, everything works together more efficiently than before. Two, its just nice to see some experimentation done. Hearing Aeon was like a slap in my face of what Crystal Lake could achieve. I was beyond pleased, and as a vocalist who primarily is involved in deathcore/slam, hearing Ryo’s range blossom even more and branching into high screams and gutturals was insane. Not to mention, instrumentally as a whole, that track blew me away. The music video for it was also a nice touch. I would like to thank Sharptone for giving me the chance to review Helix. It has been a trip, to say the least, and I can’t wait to see what Sharptone and Crystal Lake continue to do together. The album releases on Feb 15th so keep your eyes peeled and ears ready. I’ll be posting the videos of their two singles in regards to Helix down below. The last thing, catch them on tour with August Burns Red, Fit For a King, and Miss May I. Things are getting crazy and so will that tour, people.
Favourite Tracks: Aeon, Agony, Apollo, and Devilcry.
CRYSTAL LAKE – APOLLO (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)
CRYSTAL LAKE – AEON (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)