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Delightfully Alight: Crystal Lake’s “Hail to the Fire”

helix

I contend that metalcore made me feel alive, but deathcore kept me alive. Those are days long, long past, though — now, I’m mostly drowned in the dirge of doom metal and blighted by blistering black metal and possessed by progressive post-metal, etc. It’s all extremely intoxicating, but how often do I notice myself smiling anymore? I’m genuinely unsure whether my shift toward so-called “seriousness” in music is endemic to aging or maturation, or possibly neither; suffice it to say that time’s extended dialogue has distanced me from my infantile and shrieking sonic baptism, so to speak.

When I get to hell, maybe I should rethink the first thing I put on my sure-to-be-wicked hi-fi stereo system.

Never should I have forgotten the goddamn whatever-core that oxygenated my pathetic corpse so effervescently and effectively from the get-go, years ago. Never should I have forgotten the power of a breakdown, especially when it blows a speaker or makes someone upset because they’re simply not having as much fun as I’m having. Never should I have forgotten the power of gregarious gusto and gushing groove when it comes to metal for making you feel, well, fucking great.

When I heard Tokyo-based Crystal Lake‘s latest full-length Helix (out tomorrow), I remembered many sublime things about days I’ll never be able to experience again, which is indeed devastating in some ways. The simple act of remembrance, though, is the first step in a long road not backward but toward a new dimension where such distance no longer determines anything really. If I’d have really loved Helix more than a decade ago (which I sure as hell would have), why wouldn’t I love it now? Was I “wronger” about music back then? Has joyless and devastating and introspective music taught me anything at all? No reason, maybe, and probably (respectively).

But there’s one question I can answer right here and right now: no matter how long-gone you think your “coming-to-be-as-you-are-today” music is — no matter how stupid, dead, and worthless it might actually seem in retrospect — there’s a band out there releasing just that music, just for you, at this very moment. It won’t be exactly like what you remember, but the exact fucking same goes for reality itself.

And what’s even more amazing is that there might be metalheads out there, irrespective of age really, who are currently in the same place that you were. Maybe they feel the same way you did back then and therefore seek the same music you listened to… just newer, and maybe even better. Maybe this time is their time. Maybe this music is their music now. As far as Helix goes, Crystal Lake figured out the formula flawlessly. From its no-shits-given breakdowns to hardcore-inspired beats to its “what fucking year is it?” metalcore riffing, this album solidifies everything which is right and true about the -core tag. Nothing less, nothing more, just enough, and just perfect.

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Helix releases Friday via SharpTone Records. Stream the album’s eighth track “Hail to the Fire” above. The band is also on tour, dates below:

crystal lake
February 14 – Oklahoma City, OK – Diamond Ballroom
February 15 – Lincoln, NE – Bourbon Theatre
February 16 – Minneapolis, MN – Cabooze
February 17 – Des Moines, IA – Wooly’s
February 18 – Grand Rapids, MI – Intersection
February 20 – Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall
February 22 – Ottawa, ON – TD Place
February 23 – Quebec City, QC – Imperial De Quebec
February 25 – Hampton Beach, NH – Wally’s
February 26 – Portland, ME – Aura
February 27 – Clifton Park, NY – Upstate Concert Hall
February 28 – Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom
March 1 – Hartford, CT – The Webster
March 2 – Poughkeepsie, NY – The Chance Theater

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