Collisions And Castaways
Ferret Records, 2011
REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/20/2011
Anchorage, Alaska doesn't seem like a breeding ground for heavy metal, but then again neither does Des Moines, Iowa (home of Slipknot). 36 Crazy Fists originated in the Anchorage area but have since relocated to Portland, Oregon as their home base. The quartet (vocalist Brock Lindow, guitarist Steve Holt, drummer Thomas Noonan, and bassist Brett Makowski) plays aggressive hardcore music. Unless you listen to this release a lot of times with a lyric sheet in front of you, do not plan to understand what is going on in their world.
After multiple listenings, I still didn't know what Lindow is so mad about. Shouting out in anger about the injustices that have been done to him, there are few musical passages where you can understand him. You understand fairly quickly from the opening track "In The Midnights" that they are not a band you can pin into simply a hardcore label. The song opens with what sounds like gig intro music – you know, the music that plays over the PA as the band gets ready to go onstage after the house lights are turned off – for almost a minute and a half before the thunderstorm of guitar, bass, drums, and vocals begins.
"Mercy And Grace" is a stellar track and one I return to frequently. After much effort and consulting a lyrics website, I've determined that Lindow is singing the following lyrics: “And I never wanted to be quite like this / A slow steep hole that I'm in / And I never wanted to die like this." There is regret in both the words he sings as well as the way he delivers them. He sings in "Death Renames The Light" that "I once wrote these things / So I could change from agonies." The lyrics are worth a read.
The music, especially Noonan's double bass tendencies in "Death Renames The Light,” is interesting. Rarely is there a guitar solo. The brief "Long Roads To The Late Nights" instrumental comes at track six and separates the first five cuts and the second five cuts from each other. It's a smart move because, until that point, the ears are assaulted with aggressive music and vocals. Then there is 1:46 of clean guitar, a simple backbeat, and no screaming.
The second half of the album is a lot like the first and I'm okay with that. Individually, the tracks melt into each other in a storm. I've seen this band twice and both times I was impressed with their musical ability. I think this type of music translates well in a live environment. I look forward to future releases from this group, and I listen to this disc frequently.