Crossfaith – Ex Machina

Only a few years ago, and on the back of their well-received Zion EP (Sony), Crossfaith were heralded as the next big thing, armed with a formidable live reputation and an electronica/dance heavy brand of metalcore that oozed crossover appeal. Fast forward to 2018 and the Osaka troupe haven’t quite risen to such promised heights, to the extent that a brand new album seems to have almost fallen under the radar to some – not that they have lost any edge, as Ex Machina (UNFD) is not only their most creative release to date, but their strongest since Zion.

Always tagged as a dance/metalcore outfit, Ex Machina certainly doesn’t shy away from this, but it seems to blend the two together more seamlessly. At times before such rave elements have felt a little thrown in for the sake of it, but Ex Machina is the most fluid and natural the band have pulled off, personified in the simply massive and immediate ‘Make A Move’ which is simply screaming to be aired in arenas.

Ex Machina also shows the band isn’t afraid to push their sound and incorporate new things into their sound. ‘The Perfect Nightmare’ for example is one of the heaviest songs the band have ever produced and even veers into near contemporary death metal territory with blast-beats and guttural growls (ok, it’s hardly Portal…), whilst ‘Destroy’ matches its guest appearance from industrial punk hip hop outfit Ho99o9 with a frantic, futuristic sound and aggression.

The band have also shown some boldness in trying to incorporate a concept throughout concerned with a nightmarish future with the takeover of machines and sci-fi dystopia, but this is not the music to carefully dissect lyrics with and breakdown narratives and thus this conceptual arc feels lost and unnecessary amongst such upbeat music.

The hype machine has taken many a victim before and many bands don’t always come out the other side; but it seems Crossfaith aren’t a band to do things by the book as, amongst a seeming period of indifference, they have come out all guns blazing with their most vibrant, exciting and complete sounding record to date.

It doesn’t exactly reinvent them and thus won’t necessarily convert naysayers, but it certainly feels their most definite full-length release to date and does show some advancement. This is why they were and are such an exciting prospect.