"Time & Trauma"

By Professor Jocko

If I had a dollar for every time someone told me “Hey, check these guys out, you’re really going to like them!” I would have enough money to buy a really nice bottle of vodka. With that bottle, I would probably drink most of it while listening to this spectacular latest effort by 36 Crazyfists. Naturally, you don’t have to be a heavy drinker to enjoy music of any kind…maybe country, I guess, but if you are as critical as I am about what goes through my ears and into the gray matter, a slight deviation from sobriety may help you to fully immerse yourself in the moment. Anyway, this quartet of heavy rockers was launched out of Anchorage Alaska, of all places, and now calls Portland Oregon their home for now, under the Spinefarm record label having just finished their 7th studio album during their 20 year existence.

As with every band I listen to, my first impression is usually the one that sticks with me upon hearing a new album for the first time, so when the opening track called "Vanish" hit my ears, I was soon mesmerized by the incredible vocal talent of Brock Lindow. I’m sure that the band does him proud as well, matching his sometimes melodic, yet sometimes raspy, yet controlled vocal performances with rock solid grooves and stellar rhythms within a song full of several tempo changes. This album seems to cover several different avenues of musical styles, making it not only very memorable overall, but able to grasp different listeners who may be a little more particular about what they like in a band. What I mean is that this album not only thrashes in some areas, but incorporates moments of slower, somber overtones, with the stomp of scorching vocals with brief moments of melodically, cleaner singing for atmospheric flourishes. Tracks such as "Time & Trauma" and "Translator" are perhaps a little simpler, but are pleasantly organic sounding with lots of variety between slow-doom rhythm laden tracks and up-tempo vocals.

This is the chemistry that the band as a whole uses consistently and effectively throughout several of the consecutive tracks. Although the variety of tempo changes of death-metal influences continually supports the heavier sound, there are sundry guitar influences at play, pouring from the soulful feel of Steve Holt; his eloquent guitar work perfectly complements Lindow's expressive vocals which bring an extra impact and color to the songs. This is strongly complimented by the intensity of the deep bass tones of Mick Whitney, and the occasional expansive drum fills of Kyle Baltus. Perhaps the more impressive tracks are at the end of the LP, with songs like "Gathering Bones”, where the guitars pour across the fret board like waterfalls crashing down, while the rhythms thunderously pound away while nimble leads bounce effortlessly across the fret board. “Marrow (Featuring Stephanie Plate)" has an incredible power, where the songwriting features that rare quality that imbues typically brutal lines with clean vocals that allows the listener plenty of memorability because of the female influence.