With a bone-crunching rhythm section and thick, angry guitars, the band called Crisis returns with their new release, The Hollowing. And if you believe that heavy metal aggression is the exclusive province of men, singer Karyn Crisis is about to prove you wrong.
Karyn possesses some of the most unique vocals you're likely to find anywhere: a bizarre union of delicate choir-girl and hellish screaming, she is alternately soothing and disturbing. To be sure, it's not the thing for everyone - perhaps, not the thing for most people - but you can't deny the originality of it all.
On their previous album, Deathshead Extermination, Karyn's sound overpowered the rest of the band, making the disc a chore to listen to. On The Hollowing, however, she has learned how to meld her tortured soliloquies with the gloomy, atmospheric sound being tossed around behind her.
Musically, Crisis has always been superb, and that much hasn't changed. Afzaal (guitar) and Gia (bass) are cutting-edge and adventurous in their use of minor keys and despairing melody lines. Some of the best stuff the band has ever recorded has been instrumental, such as this disc's "After the Flood." It's followed by the strangely funky "Sleeping the Wicked," a trademark example of the band's interplay between vocals and music. The album ends on a very high note, the brilliant instrumental "Come To Light."
Karyn, by the way, is a very talented painter and sculptor in addition to her musical work, and her compelling and surreal art adorns the album. It's almost worth buying just for the artwork.
A quantum leap forward in maturity and sheer volume of ideas, The Hollowing is the album that we knew this band was capable of.