It’s hard to believe that Japanese electronic metallers Crossfaith have been a band for over ten years now. I remember getting into them around the time of their first Australian tour when they played Soundwave in 2012. They absolutely killed it and won a heap of fans on that tour. That same year they also released one of my favourite metal releases in their Zion EP.
Five years on, they now have a total of four albums and their new EP, Freedom, marks EP number three.
The Freedom EP sets out to tell the story of a not-too-distant future in which a manga-esque style of human/machine hybrids begin to question what it means to be truly free through the power of music due a repressive government. It’s an interesting idea to basically do a concept album in EP form but the big question is: do they pull it off?
Title track, Freedom kicks off the Freedom EP and with the sci-fi/manga theme, Crossfaith’s heavy, electro sound that open this song (and all their songs) would fit perfectly in many a science fiction film.
The track features guest vocals from Enter Shikari‘s Rou Reynolds but ultimately with Kenta Koie choosing to sing a lot of the time over his fantastic screams and Reynolds offering up a rap, this song disappointedly falls flat. The music itself is fantastic, but it’s the vocals that let this song down as much as that hurts to say. Perhaps part of this is I’m not really an Enter Shikari fan. I never really understood the hype.
Rockstar Ready is the second song on this three track EP. This one features Japanese rapper Jesse (from The Bonez and Rize). Again, much like the first track, the heaviness of the guitar and drumming mixed with the electro beat is brilliant but Jesse’s vocals add little to the song and again, it just seems to lack that something that makes you fall in love with Crossfaith’s songs.
Luckily, this EP is saved by the last track and first single, Diavolos. Diavolos is a typical, balls-to-the-wall Crossfaith song featuring everything fans have come to love from the band. Headbanging beats, heavy screams and that electro/metal mesh of music that we all love from the Japanese five-piece. It’s a shame the whole release wasn’t as brilliant as this last song which, with each listen, is quickly becoming one of my favourites from the band.
I’m all for bands trying something new but sometimes it comes off and sometimes it doesn’t and unfortunately this falls into the latter. And while it’s far from a bad release (it’s enjoyable enough, mostly due to Diavolos), it’s just disappointing based on the fact I had such high expectations. So perhaps I have myself to blame here for not enjoying this as much as I thought I would.