Japanese metalcore veterans Crystal Lake have long been a force in the rock/metal scene in Japan. Formed in 2002, the group have sustained a successful career in their native land. In the mid to late 2000’s they shared the stage with groups such as Parkway Drive and The Devil Wears Prada at several major festivals in Japan . In 2013 they toured Japan with American metalcore outfit The Ghost Inside. However, despite marked success in their own country, Crystal Lake has yet to establish themselves in the United States.
Now, all that is about to change with Crystal Lake’s American label debut record “True North” coming out via Artery Recordings. True North begins with a two minute intro track, with the first lyrics on the album being “Destroy the past / and rebuild the present / the future is ours to define" setting the tone for an aggressive album by a band who does indeed have a bright future ahead of them. Two songs later comes “Hatred” that begins with clean vocal rapping reminiscent of American nu-metal bands like Limp Bizkit and Korn and carries on like a more modernized version of nu-metal.
The album’s titular track “True North” hits with the traditional clean/unclean vocals a la many North American metalcore bands. Immediately following that, is the track “Breathe Deep” a slower ballad of sorts with clean vocals all the way through, that stands out drastically from the other material on the album. The album’s heaviest track “Six Feet Under” is a fast-paced tune reminiscent of the ones on Beartooth’s popular debut album. That is followed by a two minute instrumental, “Walk on Water” which serves as a lead in of sorts to the final song “Waves” which is also the album’s longest track, topping out at 5 minutes, 19 seconds which compiles many elements, highlighted by a big chorus that would make for a barn burning song during the bands live set.
All in all, “True North” is an experimental album of sorts, throughout the record Crystal Lake attempts many different styles, influenced heavily by North American artists. But unlike in their home country, Crystal Lake have yet to establish and identity here in the US. True North will go a long way to helping them develop an identity here and find out what songs resonate with the American audiences. Expect to see them either appearing on the VANS Warped Tour or on tour with a larger US band in the near future.