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CD Review: Crimson Falls – The True Face of Human Nature

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crimsonfalls thetruefaceofhumannatureAllow me to state my taxonomic understanding of the no-woman's land between metal and hardcore. When a hardcore band exhibits metallic tendencies, they're, natch, "metallic hardcore." When they're more metal than that, they're "metalcore." When they're even more metal, but still have short hair, they're "deathcore." Correct me if I'm wrong, lest I get flamed by both the Lambgoat and Blabbermouth contingents.

By this measure, Crimson Falls are somewhere between "deathcore" and "metalcore." They're not as blastbeat-happy as, say, All Shall Perish, but they're heavier and more complex than Throwdown or Every Time I Die. In fact, this Belgian band has a slight Lamb of God vibe in its swinging grooves. They don't reach the level of Southern-fried-ness that's so hip right now, but they're solid and punchy.

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That said, these guys have definitely listened to their death metal. The riffs burst with dissonant harmonies and pick squeals, though the underlying hardcore foundation prevents them from becoming full-on technical. This album is one of the few of its type that reveals more with each listen. Cool little runs abound, as well as harmonics and mini-solos.

"Controle Alt Delete" has a strong Carcass flavor, with caustic, palm-muted harmonies spraying all over the place between blastbeats and brief breakdowns. The song features guest vocals from Aborted's Svencho, who also does the classy yet brutal album artwork. The title track is the highlight, letting deep, hypnotic harmonies sink in over chugging, percussive riffs.

What makes Crimson Falls stand out is the fact they're reaching for something higher. The vocals are a competent blend of screams and growls – but read the lyrics, and you'll see they're actually saying something. Political but not preachy, the lyrics deal with personal and historical themes, complete with explanatory essays. The guitar work is more interesting than on many death metal albums. Piano, dialogue, and spoken word interludes add color between tracks. This album isn't the usual "-core" flavor of the moment, but a package with much thought and effort behind it.

7.5/10

Crimson Falls on MySpace

Shiver Records

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