Some bands exist at the forefront of their chosen genres, intent on pushing back boundaries, re-defining artistry and shaping the future climate. Others ride on their coat-tails, pretending they were always there and then striking while the zeitgeist is in their favour. And in-between these two extremes? Well, that’s where the battleground lies as what feels like a million bands vie to make themselves heard and raise their collective heads above a parapet of homogeneity and mediocrity.
It’s fair to say that Alaskan troupe 36 Crazyfists occupy the latter category. They haven’t moulded metalcore in the way that Zao or Killswitch Engage have, but with Bitterness The Star and A Snow-Capped Romance they have proven themselves able to offer tunes that are a cut above many of their in-vogue contemporaries.
On that basis, Rest Inside The Flames does its job. It’s not spectacular, it won’t make them metalcore Messiahs, but neither is it devoid of inspiration, interest or intelligence.
I’ll Go Until My Heart Stops is a no-nonsense opener with an urgent feel, an effective screamed echo to the clean vocals and a simple, straight, battering beatdown towards the end.
Later tracks such as Elysium, Will Pull This In By Hand and Between The Anchor And The Air are also suitably metallic, with the former boasting that staple of the genre, the machine gun rhythm, as well as that other staple of the genre – Killswitch Engage’s Howard Jones on guest vocals – to great consequence.
Interspersed between these bursts of heaviness are punkier vibes in the form of On Any Given Night (sharp, snaking riff) and The Great Descent (unorthodox jazz-type inflections), and not particularly memorable, occasionally anaemic efforts such as Midnight Swim and Aurora.
Still, 36 Crazyfists do bring something different to the table and the strong, soulful singing of former Only Living Witness frontman Jonah Jenkins lends an air of yearning to We Cannot Deny, while the acoustic closer The City Ignites shouldn’t work, but curiously does.
Rest Inside The Flames doesn’t quite cause the frissons that parts of 36 Crazyfists’ previous two albums did and as such is a few killer choruses away from being special, but for solid songwriting that you know will translate well to the moshpit, it will do nicely, thank you.