Crossfaith – Ex Machina

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/label URL: http://www.unfdcentral.com
Released: 2018
Buy Album [URL]https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ex_MacHina-Crossfaith/dp/B07DC9MWBK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1533549353&sr=8-1&keywords=crossfaith+ex+machina
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/crossfaithofficial/

Band line-up:

Kenta Koie – Vocals
Kazuki Takemura – Guitar
HIroki Ikegawa – Bass
Tatsuya Amano – Drums
Terufumi Tamano – Vision / Program

Tracklisting:

1. Deus Ex Machina
2. Catastrophe
3. The Perfect Nightmare
4. Destroy (feat. Ho99o9)
5. Freedom (feat. Rou Reynolds from Enter Shikari)
6. Make A Move
7. Lost In You
8. Wipeout (Album Mix)
9. Milestone
10. Eden In The Rain
11. Twin Shadows
12. Daybreak
13. Faint (feat. Masato from coldrain)

Review:

Crossfaith are an electro core band from Japan, and their latest album ‘Ex Machina’ was released on the 3rd of August through the record label UNFD. It’s a concept album set in the near future, where the ruling class known as ‘Angels’ control their world through artificial technology. The effect of the tyranny dehumanises the rest of the population and effectively turns them into drones. However, there is a resistance fighting the dictators known as the ‘Demons’ and each track is through their eyes. The band’s frontman Kenta ‘Ken’ Koie comments ‘there are so many reasons we decided to set (the album) in the future. Our attitude has always been that we should be constantly pushing to make something different.’

The group’s use of modern style synths does make the band sound somewhat futuristic, but those familiar with Enter Shikari will know Crossfaith’s material isn’t as unique as they would probably want it to be. Of course being truly original is extremely difficult, but more complex time signatures here and there would have helped with that. Such musical devices would also have created the sense of uncertainty and unfamiliarity the band were perhaps aiming for. After all, who knows how revolutions will ever turn out? Having said that, the ultra-typical, wild heavy metal instrumentation that we are all familiar with, does give the feeling of an exciting and romanticised interpretation of the every day. Perfect for representing humans without hope, but who make the best out of a terrible, repetitive situation with courage.

Again fitting to the music, the violent drumming and harsh chord progressions are great at describing uprisings. However, don’t go thinking that justified anger is the only emotion on offer, because songs like ‘Lost In You’ have more hopeful atmospheres, perhaps suggesting the people have more power than they realise over governments/monarchies or whatever. Koie also comments that ‘there’s no particular religious message (in the music). In order to explore the dualism of humans, we decided to include Angels and Demons, which are opposing elements just like fire and water.’ There clearly are contrasts in the music, but maybe it would have been nice to write about the controlling ’Angels’ from their perspective and the paranoid fear they must experience, just to give the album more depth.

In conclusion, this is adventurous electro core in terms of concept. It is also very relevant to modern day life making it all the more powerful, if not as multi-dimensional as it could have been. However, the harmonies and melodies are rather typical. Some more chromaticism would be greatly appreciated as the riffs often have hardcore punky/metal flavours to them that haven’t been updated. The keys added to them do help modernise the overall sound, but more could have been done to make the group more distinctive. Maybe extra surrealness possibly in the form of more creative production would have been fitting, as the band clearly write of a world that is at least a little alien. The music is a lot of fun in a moshing kind of way but again, various opportunities have been missed.

Review by Simon Wiedemann
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