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Eskimo Callboy - "Crystals" (CD)

Eskimo Callboy - "Crystals" CD cover image

"Crystals" track listing:

1. Pitch Blease (3:23)
2. Baby (T.U.M.H.) (3:20)
3. My Own Summer (3:47)
4. Kill Your Idols (3:59)
5. Ritual (0:35)
6. Monster (3:00)
7. Best Day (3:55)
8. 2 Fat 2 Furious (3:53)
9. F.D.M.D.H. (1:52)
10. Paradise In Hell (3:24)
11. Crystals (3:45)
12. Walk On The Thin Line (3:58)
13. Closure (1:13)

Reviewed by on July 3, 2015

"Grab that that mesh top and white-denim vest you definitely still have from high school and throw it on together with your bullet belt and spiked wristbands."

There are four types of metal fans – True Fans, Trve Fans, Troo Fans, and the blasfeemers [sic] that prostrate at the altars of false godz [sic]. If you are in the twenty-five percent of metal fans that desperately wish more metal was played in night clubs and discos, then you are going to love “Crystals.”

This review should be a pretty simple thing to write. Eskimo Cowboys mash up late 1990s Deftones and Linkin Park, early 2000s metalcore, a goodly touch of djent, and a whole bunch of samples, turntables, danceable beats and club choruses. And by danceable I mean this is what the popular women you know dance to at night clubs and sing in the office on Monday mornings as they dream of weekends past. Whether or not that mess sounds appealing to you, we’re done here. Right?

Nahhhhh….. after writing the preceding sentence I realize that mix of metal seems horrific, yet strangely it works better than horrific. Potentially damning praise, but let’s talk our way through, see where we get.

Metalcore forms the base, and it is decent-to-good. The harsh vocals are suitably gravel-in-the-wound and unintelligible - clearly the vocalist is screaming with much effort. The backing drums-bass-guitars are simple, yet grind and growl like a good backing band should. Muscular riffs and rumbl-y bass constantly tussle for (sloppy, natch) seconds, with the djent-y guitars usually winning. The breakdowns work well with the samples and techno beats (please forgive, I know nothing of techno. That’s as good as it gets).

The clean parts and choruses are the dance breaks. They work and it’s refreshing. Sometimes layered with breakdowns and harsh screams, sometimes soaring solo, often both in the same song, Eskimo Callboys has taken the next logical step Linkin Park and their ilk never could. Pushing the boundaries of each side of the music closer to the extreme musical endpoints, we are mixing the DJ-loving glowstick-and-blacklight crowd with us longhaired knuckledraggers. And why not? We could use more color.

Look, it’s not all good – “Best Day” is pretty banal, as if some whiny 1999 alt band wrote a “hard ballad,” and “Baby (T.U.M.H.)” has a chorus that doesn’t cash the big checks the breakdowns are writing. But the 1980s-throwback callout choruses guitar licks of “2 Fat 2 Furious” totally make up for it. And these guys can get pretty heavy, with the brief “F.D.M.D.H.” as decent 30 seconds of deathcore with blastbeats and everything, just to prove they can indeed break the glass in case of emergency.

Apparently these guys are somewhat of a big crossover thing out in the Germany. Dragonforce is too – so not a positive talking point (zing!). But Eskimo Callboy has a clear position in the market, a sense of humor, style and the clubcore is sharper than Angela Merkel’s policies (because, Deutschland). So don’t hate. Grab that mesh top and white-denim vest you definitely still have from high school and throw it on together with your bullet belt and spiked wristbands. It’s gonna feel weird, but don’t worry, it totally works.

Highs: The title track is a perfect clubcore cut.

Lows: Sometimes the band forgets to mix enough metal in with the club-pop.

Bottom line: The concept of "Clubcore" sounds awful, but this is going to be on more guilty pleasure lists than you think.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)