There hasn't been a metalcore release I've liked in quite some time. As its train chugged and screeched towards the mainstream, stopping to pick up catchy choruses and cliché horror imagery, the original soul and emotionally discordant qualities, as well as myself, deboarded. So it comes as quite a surprise to me that years after losing interest in the genre, it is a band hailing from Moscow, Russia that puts out a metalcore album I can actually get into.
Most likely what I enjoy about this album stems from two main factors. First, I would imagine that for a band from a city with a history like Moscow that the only bands likely to get their music heard in the overcrowded US market would have to be pretty awesome and likely be made up of top-quality musicians, and this is certainly true for .crrust. Every member is clearly a killer on their instrument and this naturally leads to the other big redeeming factor of this record: a willingness to experiment and follow their muse. Throughout the 40-plus minute album, the band hits on a variety of styles from straightforward metalcore to old-school emo shriek-alongs and even to low-key jazz-inspired breaks. The stylistic shifts work well and never sound forced or corny. Between the Buried and Me comes to mind, but .crrust sounds more natural and less arrogant. It doesn't sound like they're trying to cram as many styles into one song or show off their chops; rather, it really just sounds like a band playing exactly what they want to play.
Of course, as much as I like what I hear on this album, it has a fatal flaw that nearly ruins it for me. In some sort of artistic risk-taking, the band decided that its record length output should be considered one song and thus be sequenced to only one track. Besides the fact that I hear "songs" with clear stopping and starting points, this leads to several problems for the listener. If there are a few minutes (or a song) that you don't like, are you going to fast-forward? No, you're going to listen to something else. What if you do decide to fast forward and screw up holding the button and instead go back to the beginning? Getting angry directly at a CD is not something that usually happens to people, but omit sequencing and it becomes an easy possibility. Bands, I implore you, do not turn your albums worth of songs into one single track. It is cumbersome and annoying and detracts from your work.
Regarding the lyrics, as I discussed in a previous review, non-native English speakers attempting to write in English can be a tricky endeavor. This band's lyrics are in English (barely) and I hesitate to mock them as I am aware of the disparity between Russian and English, but there are some pretty hilarious word combinations that are worth sharing. I would quote what song these are from, but as you know, this album doesn't work that way. "Deep in the lost and found with bad intentions, stuck in the classroom, all with fake incisions, it takes a while to judge us by decisions, we only hope it won't lead to collisions." Or how about, "You've come home to find that your boundaries have eaten your soul, you now stand for all the hate you love and everything you've bargained for. Irresistible to some, annoying to others, driven by the winds caught inside the fins relying on weather to smooth out the leather on you." Since they hail from Russia I will cut them some slack, but I would have dug the lyrics having been written and sung in their native language.
Sequencing and lyrical flaws aside, this is a highly enjoyable metalcore release. It is passionately creative and honest, a refreshing change of pace from what has happened in the US to this genre over the past few years. Fans of Between the Buried and Me and Dillinger Escape Plan (who the band is opening for in Moscow) should enjoy this and .crrust may even appeal to fans of other types of heavy music.