Alaska outfit 36 Crazyfists never broke from the mold during the New Wave of American Heavy Metal in the 2000s. The band enjoyed some popularity, but failed to garner the critical or commercial success of its contemporaries like Killswitch Engage or Trivium. Now that the metalcore craze has subsided, the band returns after a 5 year absence with a new record, Time and Trauma. The band’s seventh disc offers little in terms of musicality or heaviness. It is by the numbers metalcore with a tinge of nu-metal. The opening track “Vanish (We All Disappear)” is mired by Brock Lindow’s strained vocals. The song itself sounds dated, like a cut one would hear on a horror soundtrack from 2002. The crunching “Sorrow Sings” has some sharp-sweeping riffs and tolerable vocals. Again, it is nothing one has not heard before, but it is solid nu-metal. The title track is conventional, with droning opening riffs reminiscent of Deftones or Skinlab. The track has a somber groove and is accessible enough for satellite radio. The hard hitting “Also Am I” reminds me of Nothingface musically, but vocally, Lindow sounds like Jello Biafra somewhat. This is one of the heavier tracks on Time and Trauma and will get the pit going at the band’s shows.
Time and Trauma was tracked at guitarist Steve Holt’s home studio. The production is quite good and no instrument overshadows the other. The sound is thick, giving the album a nostalgic feel of the nu-metal albums of yesteryear. The “been there, done that feeling” is very present on this record. I suppose 36 Crazyfists are trying to bring back the nu-metal and metalcore sound of 2002. If so the band is on the right track.
Time and Trauma is not a traumatic experience at all. It is just that the album came out in the wrong decade. Had this record come out between 1999-2003 it may have gone gold or even platinum. However, 36 Crazyfists are about 13 years too late. Fans of the band will probably buy it since it is the band’s first disc since 2010. However, metal heads are not missing anything if they skip it. Still, if one harkens for the good old days of nu-metal and metalcore, Time and Trauma is for you.
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