Initially making waves with their “Ultra Thrash” single from their 2011 debut full-length ‘The Menace’, Barcelona based thrashers Crisix have been hard at work forging ahead with their classic thrash inspired sound for a full decade now and ‘Against the Odds’ sees Crisix doing what they love without any preaching or pretense. Their first recording with a stabilized line-up ‘The Menace’ was unleashed in 2011’s intensely packed retro-thrash and though many took notice it didn’t get the spotlight it deserved next to groups like Havok, Vektor and Warbringer. Their ability to carry a 45 minute thrash record rattled the high-horse legacies of aging thrash bands that survived the 90’s as Crisix begins to resemble a fitting representation for old school-loving modern thrash metal. Where their self-produced fourth album falters a bit is when it gets a bit lost (for my taste) in it’s chugging, danceable mosh riffing.
I’ve seen Crisix‘ sound compared to fellow Spaniards Angelus Apidatra and I guess the vocalists share some of the same harsh affect but that band has more of a power-thrash/melodic thrash style whereas Crisix is ‘street’ thrash with gang-shouted vocals, Kreator riffs, and an early Exodus snarl. Their second album ‘Rise… Then Rest’ seemed to cement their tendency towards high-quality production while also introducing a far less serious tonality to their messaging. In many ways ‘Against the Odds’ is a return to the feeling of 2013’s ‘Rise… Then Rest’ complete with lyrics referencing their favorite 80’s-90’s movies and a second track about Dragon Ball Z, this time about Vegeta instead of Frieza.
Crisix‘ last album ‘From Blue to Black’ in 2016 was only a bit more serious lyrically but it definitely featured their most polished and varied sound thanks to what was probably a larger budgeted mix/master from Jens Bogren (Kreator, Borknagar, tons of others) and Fascination Street Studios. The mixing was a bit bass-heavy for their early 90’s style thrashing and they’ve remedied that by self-producing ‘Against the Odds’ and having Bogren finer tune a fuller range into the drum sound. The trouble is that they’ve gone from a thudding double-bass drum to a clicking one, and it distracts a bit. Crisix are still holding an admirable torch for thrash metal in 2018 but the sound of the record is so focused that it almost feels like it misses the bigger picture of thrash metal for the sake of easily read, moshable guitar intensity. Revocation has taken the same approach for years making ‘millennial thrash’ and often gotten lost within their compositions while forgetting to vary tone, tempo, and dynamics.
Groove metal influenced numbers that go slightly hardcore/metalcore might work better at festivals and open air shows but some of the compositions on ‘Against the Odds’ dodge away from complexity in service to mosh-able grooves that are entirely bland (“The North Remembers”) on record. Likewise the death/thrash experiment of “Leave Your God Behind” might be well intentioned but their strengths lie in their raw ‘Extreme Aggression’ meets bro-shout thrash style and not in death metal affect. The real shock and awe I felt with Crisix latest album more or less lives on the A-side of the first five tracks. If you want a modern take on thrash metal from a band that have been more traditional in the past ‘Against the Odds’ is driven by a strong sense of self and a determined attitude that strives for balance between serious issues and blowing off steam. I’m personally still stuck on their ‘The Menace’ album and it’s style but I appreciate how they’ve evolved as they reach larger audiences and I really admire the face of thrash they’re representing whether it’s a few goofy music videos or an effectively moshy thrash riff.
|Released||March 23, 2018|
|BUY/LISTEN on Listenable Records Bandcamp!||Follow Crisix on Facebook|
Words that float. 3.0/5.0
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