Sound — 9
This new album is a far cry from 36 Crazyfists origins, but I'm sure we all saw that coming. While it can't yet be considered hardcore, it's certainly moving in that direction. Brock Lindow barely uses the gargling vocal style he started with, pre-Bitterness The Star. Steve Holt uses speedier riffs while Thomas Noonan uses a lot more double bass than has previously been seen on a 36Crazyfists album. The overall sound is tighter, yet more spontaneous. "Elysium" is a song that will be soaked up with glee by hardcore kids. "Aurora" is another beauty, with an excellent melody and a changing tempo throughout. "I'll Go Until My Heart Stops" is the first single and is reminiscent of the single "At The End Of August" on the previous 36CF album, A Snow Capped Romance. Again, Brock Lindow pays tribute to his home state of Alaska, with song titles like "Between The Anchor And The Air." The final song, "The City Ignites" is merely an acoustic version of "Midnight Swim." The album is an altogether strikingly beautiful modern metal record.
Lyrics — 9
Brock Lindow is an exceptionally talented vocalist, but when did 36 Crazyfists lyrics ever make sense to anyone? There are some striking lines such as the challenging "Are you screaming loud enough to be important?" near the start of "Aurora" and the melancholy "What I would give for memories that wouldn't keep me up at night." "The Great Descent" carries a sense of urgency throughout, one of the lines sung is "Somebody better call a doctor" and it finishes with "There's no need for emergency but if there is, distract it." While some lyrics stick out, most of the lyrics on this album, like previous albums, don't make sense to the average person, but instead leave them very open to interpretation, for instance, "Could I be any further along when a room leaves nothing?" at the start of "On Any Given Night" and "Tonight may be the last night in these shoes" at the end of "Aurora."
Overall Impression — 9
It's debatable whether or not this album would succeed if it was labelled solely as a hardcore album and it's difficult to compare this cd to previous 36 Crazyfists albums because the style has changed so much. The best song is undoubtedly "Aurora" followed closely by "Elysium" and the single "I'll Go Until My Heart Stops." I think it's unfortunate that this album has strayed so far from the style of "Bitterness The Star" which had more individuality, the gargling vocals and melodic guitar defined 36 Crazyfists for me, but on this album, they've moved closer to definitions set by other bands. However, the melodies and subject matter remain very close to the origins of 36 Crazyfists and they're still very inspirational in themselves - everything they do, they do with style that you want in your music collection.